Your Options in Dental Fillings

Cavities are never fun, but addressing the issue can save your teeth and protect your oral health. If you or your child has a cavity, it means there are decayed areas of the tooth which causes permanent damage to the hard surfaces. Know that cavities are extremely common, and you can take steps to not only treat the ones you have but prevent new ones from forming.

Lauren Izadi, DDS, Edward Kim, DDS and our team here at West End Dental are here to help the entire family keep their smiles healthy. Serving the Washington, DC, community, our dental professionals are devoted to changing lives -- one smile at a time.

Using the latest advances in dentistry, our team provides a full range of comprehensive dental services, routinely addressing tooth decay. Cavities create holes in the tooth where bacteria live and breed. To treat the cavity your dentist removes the decayed portion of the affected tooth and fills the area in to restore the tooth. Fillings are also used to treat cracked or broken teeth.

If you’re having a cavity filled, it’s important to consult with your dentist and decide which filling material is the right option for you, as there are various factors to consider when choosing a filling for your cavity or to repair a cracked or broken tooth.

Factors to consider when choosing a dental filling

Discuss your options with your dentist so that together you can choose the best dental filling material for your situation. Some factors to consider include the cosmetic result and durability.

Cosmetic outcome may also be high priority if you’re filling a cracked or broken incisor or canine tooth. These are the teeth in the front of your mouth that are most visible when you smile or talk. How long the filling lasts helps you factor in long-term costs, and sensitivities to specific materials may rule out certain types of fillings. 

Here are some of the most common dental filling options to discuss with your dentist.

Amalgam

Amalgam is a classic option for filling teeth. It’s a strong, long-lasting, economical option. These fillings are made of a mixture of metals, usually 50% mercury, mixed with copper, silver, or zinc. Because amalgam fillings are made of metal, they’re silver in color and visible when you open your mouth. 

Composite

If you’d prefer a filling that blends in cosmetically with the rest of your teeth, you may want to consider a composite filling. These are usually made from acrylic resin and can be shaded to match your existing teeth. This gives you a more natural-looking result.

Composite fillings are less durable than amalgam. For this reason, composite is a good option for a small filling in a tooth that doesn’t experience as much wear and tear.

Porcelain

Porcelain fillings offer the most natural look and are virtually unnoticeable. The porcelain used in dental fillings is durable, compact, and just as hard as your tooth’s natural enamel. Your dentist can tint the porcelain to match the shade of your natural teeth so that it blends in seamlessly. Porcelain fillings are the treatment of choice for front teeth.

Gold

Gold fillings, commonly called inlays, are made of gold, copper, and other metals. If durability is your primary concern, this type of filling is the most durable, lasting 20 years or more. Gold fillings are an excellent option for teeth that experience a lot of stress, such as your molars. You may also want to consider gold as a filling material if you grind your teeth, which is a condition called bruxism).

Dental fillings play a crucial role in preventing further tooth decay. Our team at West End Dental is here to help you make the right choice for you. For all your family dental needs, you can contact our office to schedule an evaluation with one of our top-quality providers.

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