Dental fillings are a common restorative dentistry option and the best way to address minor to moderate tooth decay. But if you have never had a filling, or if it has been many years since your last one, you may not be fully aware of your treatment options. Today’s patients can choose from several materials to suit their particular needs and budget.
At Chisholm Trail Smile Center, Dr. Matthew Bridges is always ready to answer questions. At your consultation, he will explain the different materials and outline every step of your treatment.
Contact us to learn more about restorative care at our Duncan, OK, practice or to schedule your appointment.
What are the different types of dental fillings?
There are two materials that you can choose from when selecting your dental filling:
- Amalgam: Amalgam fillings are often called “silver amalgam” due to their color. But in reality, they are made of a mixture of copper, tin, zinc, mercury, and silver.
- Composite resin: Dental composite is white and can be color-matched to your natural teeth.
Are amalgam fillings safe?
Amalgam fillings are approximately 50% mercury, and they can release a tiny amount of mercury into the bloodstream. For most patients, the risks of mercury exposure is negligible. However, for certain high-risk individuals, the FDA recommends avoiding mercury fillings. High risk groups include children, pregnant and nursing women, individuals with neurological conditions or kidney dysfunction, and those with mercury allergies.
What type should I get?
Unless you are one of the high risk individuals mentioned above, your filling choice is up to you. Typically, Dr. Bridges recommends composite fillings for the front teeth since they will match the color of your smile. Amalgam fillings can eventually start to show through, giving your teeth a gray cast.
Many people choose to avoid the risks of mercury exposure, even if they are not considered high risk. For these individuals, composite fillings are the obvious choice!
How long do fillings last?
The lifespan of the different materials may also play a role in your selection. On average, amalgam fillings last 15 years, and composite fillings last 7. However, they often last much longer, especially if you take good care of your teeth.
How many times can a tooth be filled?
Once a filling wears out, your dentist will need to replace it, and this can happen multiple times. Each time he replaces it, however, the cavity will grow larger. Eventually, it will be too big for a filling. There is no fixed number as to how many times you can get a new filling. Rather, your dentist will need to evaluate the structural integrity of your teeth each time.
How much do fillings cost?
The cost of fillings will vary. In general, amalgam fillings cost less than composite.
Fortunately, insurance will typically cover the cost of a filling. However, you will need to check with your provider if you select composite fillings. Some insurance companies will not cover the cost of composite. Others may only cover them only up to the cost of an amalgam filling.
Restore Your Teeth at Chisholm Trail Smile Center
Still have questions about dental fillings? Contact our office to learn more.
Get in touch via our website or give us a call at (580) 255-4880.