Dental FillingsIf you have been told by your dentist you have a cavity – or multiple cavities – you are likely headed for fillings. You’ve certainly heard of fillings before, even if you didn’t know exactly what they were, or how they worked. In this blog post, we are going to attempt to clear up any confusion you may have with regard to this common dental practice. Specifically, we are going to address some of the types of fillings in use today.

Not Just for Cavities

Before we talk about the various types of fillings which can be used by your dentist, it should first be pointed out that fillings are used for more than just cavities. This is the most common circumstance, of course, but there are other oral health issues which may call for the use of a filling. For instance, if you grind your teeth, the damage caused by that habit may be repaired by fillings.

A Major Player

If you know anyone who already has fillings, those fillings are likely dental amalgam. This is a hugely popular filling option, and it has been around for more than a century. You may have heard these referred to as silver fillings, since they tend to take on a silver appearance. This filling material has been tested extensively over the years, and its use is widely accepted.

The popularity of this option is based on a number of factors. First, as you might imagine, this is one of the least expensive kinds of fillings. Things that are extremely popular tend to be affordable as well, and that is the case here. But, this is not all about saving money. There are performance benefits to be gained by using amalgam, including the fact that it is easy to work with and provides impressive durability.

When you learn that you need fillings, there is a good chance your dentist is going to recommend amalgam as the filling of choice. Of course, you are welcome to ask questions and speak with your dentist about other options before settling on a treatment plan. However, you should know that dental amalgam is widely used, has been in use for a long period of time, and is more affordable than other options.

Gold Fillings

Rather than ‘silver fillings’ – which are dental amalgam – you may have the option of using cast gold fillings. Patients usually opt for gold fillings for a combination of performance and aesthetic reasons. On the performance side, gold fillings are impressively durable, with enough strength to stand up to chewing and still last for a decade or more in many cases. With regard to appearance, you may decide that you like the look of gold fillings more than silver. This is particularly relevant if your fillings are going to be located in a prominent area of your mouth.

You can probably already guess what we are going to have to say about the downside to gold fillings – the cost. Gold is expensive, and these fillings can be expensive as well. You’ll likely need to pay several times more for gold fillings when compared to amalgam. Whether or not that additional cost is worth it to you is a personal decision.

Other Options

The choices for fillings don’t stop at gold and silver. There are plenty of other options on the market, each of which may or may not make a smart pick for your personal situation. Ceramic fillings – typically porcelain – are one option, as are composites. The big selling point of composites is that the shade of the filling can be matched nicely to the existing tooth. This means that the filling will stand out far less from a visual standpoint than when gold or silver are used.

Getting Help

As you might imagine, this is not a decision that you should be trying to make on your own. Instead, you should work together with your dentist to determine the best possible solution for your needs. At Lakeside Dental in Moses Lake, we will be happy to walk you through the options and explain the pros and cons of each. In the end, you should be able to make an informed and confident decision that leaves you feeling good about the plan for your oral health.

The Fear Factor

We understand that plenty of people don’t like to come to the dentist, and they particularly don’t like coming in when work such as fillings is on the agenda. With that said, we want to assure you that the process of having a cavity filled is unlikely to be nearly as scary as you may expect. We take great care to keep our patients as comfortable as possible during any procedure. When all is said and done, you will be glad you took the step to have your fillings put in place, even if you weren’t looking forward the visit originally.

The Aftermath

The job of caring for your dental health is not over when your fillings are in and you head back home. In fact, this is an ongoing job that you take with you wherever you go. Good overall oral hygiene is important to protect the condition of your filings over the long run. And of course, that same hygiene is also going to be beneficial for the rest of your mouth around the fillings. Periodic visits to your dentist are wise as well, to have cleanings and to make sure your fillings remain in good condition.