If you suffer from a cavity, then your dentist may treat it with a filling.

Fillings can be made from a variety of materials, and there are several types to choose from. Before choosing a filling, you will want to consider several factors including the location and type of damage that needs to be repaired, cost, durability, aesthetics, and what the procedure entails.

Metal fillings

Metal fillings are made from a combination of different metals including mercury.  These metal fillings are called amalgams – commonly referred to as ‘silver’ fillings. Amalgam fillings have reasonable strength and are the most affordable and historically the most common filling option.

These metal fillings have some serious drawbacks, however. They expand and contract 4X more than your tooth when heated and cooled – think hot coffee and cold ice cream. In addition, they are not “glued” in place, which means there is always a micro-gap that bacteria can get into. For these reasons amalgam fillings tend to leak over time and fracture teeth.

While metal fillings have been used to successfully treat cavities for many years, they aren’t exactly inconspicuous. Fortunately, thanks to advances in science, we are now able to offer alternative filling options for those looking for a more natural appearance.

Tooth-coloured fillings

Tooth-coloured fillings are either composite or glass ionomer. Dramatic advancements have been made in the area of tooth-coloured fillings. Strength and durability is no longer an issue, and because they are bonded (bio-chemically glued) to the teeth the seal is much more definitive than metal fillings. Tooth-coloured fillings are more difficult to place, but they are very aesthetic and desirable. As a result the cost of composite and glass ionomer fillings typically falls above the cost of an amalgam filling.

Porcelain and gold

Sometimes a filling is not enough to fix a tooth, and stronger a material is required. This would be either porcelain or gold. These two materials are the most durable, and are used to replace large sections of a tooth – sometimes the entire outside surface of the tooth. These materials are not used for fillings.

How do I choose a filling material?

As mentioned above, there are several factors to consider before deciding which type of filling will work best for you – or indeed if you are best served by something other than a filling, such as porcelain or gold.

At Kelowna Dental Solutions, our goal is to help our patients understand what is happening in their mouths and then educate them on the available options to help them make the most appropriate decision for themselves. We are honest with our patients about the pros and cons of each option, and how they pertain to that patients’ specific situation.

If you would like to learn more about your options for fillings in Kelowna, contact us today to book an appointment.

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