Cavity does not only happen to children. It can happen at any age and most often due to poor dental habits. Tooth decay starts when food debris and bacteria are left in the mouth for an extended period and forms the plaque. Plaque bonds with the teeth, form holes in it and eventually result to cavities. The tooth that has been affected by cavities can be restored by removing the decayed part and replacing it with dental fillings.
There are different types of fillings and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Silver amalgam. This is currently the most popular type of filling because of its low cost, strength and durability. It can last for about 15 years. It is made up mostly of mercury as well as silver, zinc, tin and copper so it only comes in silver and doesn’t match the natural tooth color. It is prone to discoloration, expansion and contraction. Because it expands and contracts it can result in cracked tooth or create spaces within the filling itself which is why it is not recommended by many dentist in Houston Texas and across the country.
Composite fillings. This is also a popular choice because it comes in different shades that can match natural teeth color and therefore aesthetically pleasing. It bonds well with natural tooth too so it provides further support. It is best suited for use in front and other visible teeth. One of its outstanding advantages is its versatility as it not only used to fill for decay but also for chipped, worn or broken teeth. However, though composite fillings usually last for at least five years (making it less durable than amalgam), it is prone to chipping and more expensive than silver amalgam.
Ceramic fillings. This type of filling is made of porcelain and can also be made to match the natural tooth color. It can last up to 15 years or longer and is more stain-resistant than the composite type. Its only disadvantage is its price which is the same as gold filling.
Glass ionomer. Made of glass and acrylic, this is the common choice for children and for fillings that are below the gum line. It doesn’t last long, usually just five years or less. It releases fluoride to further strengthen the teeth, the reason it is more commonly used for young children. Glass ionomer is prone to fracture, vulnerable to tear and weaker than composite resins. Pricing is also comparable to composite type.
Gold fillings. This type is not commonly used because of the expensive cost. But considering that gold fillings are non-corrosive, sturdy and can last for more than 15 years, this is actually a good alternative to the natural tooth-colored types. A disadvantage though is that there are only a few cosmetic dentists Houston who use this material. Aside from that, many people prefer to have fillings that match their natural tooth color.