There are several types of dental fillings. They vary based on cost, durability and esthetics. We may discuss the options and decide what will best fit your oral health needs.
Directly Fabricated Fillings
These fillings are done in one visit. They are called “direct” because the dentist places, forms and shapes the material directly on the tooth in the mouth.
Amalgam (silver fillings)—these fillings have a long history of durability and safety in the dental community. The material is inexpensive and so may be a cost saving option for patients on a budget. Amalgam fillings that are too large may cause the teeth to crack over time.
Resin/Composite (white fillings)—these materials are more esthetic than amalgam. The newer materials used today are quite esthetic and will not wear as quickly compared with older resin materials. However, composite fillings usually does not last as long as amalgam. Composite fillings may cost more than amalgam because it is more expensive material and takes more time to place. Composite restorations may be very conservative. Because the material bonds with the tooth structure (unlike amalgam) the dentist has to remove less tooth structure in order to place it. Composite fillings usually do not lead to cracked teeth.
Indirectly Fabricated Fillings (Dental Inlays)
These fillings are called “indirect” because they are usually made by a lab and may take 2 visits to complete. The dentist will remove the cavity and shape the tooth. A mold (impression) is taken of the tooth and surrounding teeth. The impression is sent to the lab and a temporary filling material is placed in the tooth. On the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and use cement to place the inlay in the tooth. While inlays do present more of a cost to the patient, they generally last longer than directly fabricated fillings.
Tooth colored inlays—may be made of resin or porcelain and blend nicely with the tooth. These can be custom shaded to match the tooth exactly. Porcelain usually costs more than resin but will last longer.
Metal inlays—are usually made of gold. Metal is very long lasting and does not wear away easily. These are obviously not the most esthetic option for restoring teeth.
Fillings do not last forever. They will need to be replaced eventually. They may need to be replaced sooner due to wear, decay, or fracture from grinding or hard foods. If you are experiencing tooth pain or noticing signs of tooth decay or wear, please call us immediately at 203-377-9300 to schedule an appointment.