What Type of Filling Should You Choose?

  • Posted on: Nov 29 2016

New York City is one of the best places in the world to grab a bite to eat. From Top Chef haunts to hole-in-the-wall classics to dining experiences inspired by nearly every culture in the world, you’ll have no trouble finding something delicious in the Big Apple. But what if tooth pain is keeping you from enjoying your meal? Often, cavities and decay can impact the appearance and function of teeth, at times making chewing painful. If you’re teeth have gotten to this point, you probably need a filling – one of the most common restorative treatments in our office. The good news is that fillings will help restore your ability to bite without it hurting!  But first there are a few decisions to make leading up to treatment – from what day to book your appointment to what type of filling should you choose.

Up until recently, there were only a few options for materials for fillings. But the dental field has quickly advanced, and there are now several choices. Two of the most popular and commonly used materials are amalgam and porcelain. Amalgam has been around for years, and it’s likely that you already have it in place if you received a filling in the past. How will you know? As noted by the Colgate Oral Care Center, amalgam fillings are often make up of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. The use of these elements makes your fillings and noticeable when you talk or otherwise open your mouth. If it’s been awhile since your last filling — or if you’ve never had one before — you might not be familiar with porcelain as an alternative. Porcelain offers a stronger, more natural looking solution than traditional amalgam fillings do.

After walking through the pros and cons of both options with patients, we usually suggest that they go with porcelain. In fact, in many cases, our patients actually have us replace old amalgam fillings with these more aesthetically pleasing and durable options. But there are, of course, more reasons than appearance to consider. By and large, porcelain fillings are more durable than amalgam. Overtime, amalgam metals can break down, leading to breaks and cracks that expose already damaged teeth to more cavity-causing environmental factors. Additionally, the mercury in amalgam fillings can eventually leak, which can stain teeth and gums.

Admittedly, there is no perfect choice when it comes to fillings. Even porcelain can break and teeth might need to be altered in order to get the fillings in place.On the flip side, as Colgate notes and as we can confirm, porcelain fillings can last more than seven years and they are more likely to resist stains and abrasion than other resin treatments.

Whether you’ve already decided on your filling material or are still weighing your options, we’d love to talk to you about your teeth. After all, you have a world of culinary delights at your fingertips, and we want you to be able to take a bite out of life!

Posted in: Dental Hygiene