Fifty years ago when you visited your dentist for a filling, there were only two choices available: a gold or silver amalgam. While not particularly cosmetic, metal tooth fillings were durable and the amalgam relatively inexpensive. Concerns over the possibility of toxins leaching from the amalgam over time, however, prompted further development of substances to be used for dental fillings.
Choices and Applications for Today’s Dental Fillings
Today, there are more choices and healthier amalgams. Materials used range from gold, amalgams, cement and composites. Here is what you need to know about each:
Gold: Seldom used today due to its softness and market price. When gold prices continued to rise a few years ago, many with extensive gold dental work traded in their gold fillings for amalgams and sold the gold!
Amalgams: These are made from copper, tin and mercury (deemed safe by the ADA for anyone over the age of 6). More durable than resin, these are the filling of choice for most of us. PLEASE NOTE: Some people may be allergic to one or more of the metals used. If you know you are allergic, ask your dentist to provide an alternate choice.
Composites: Made from resin, composites are white and therefore are cosmetically attractive due to their natural appearance. These are the best choice when the cavity is in a conspicuous place.
Cement: Glass ionomer cement is a restorative material that can also benefit teeth by slowly releasing one of its elements: fluoride. This filler is best for back teeth that are not involved in biting.
Whenever you have a question concerning your dental health, your dentist is your best resource. If you do not have dental insurance consider an EDP Dental Plan. While not dental insurance, EDP practitioners meet the highest qualifying criteria and offer considerable discounts on nearly every dental procedure. Call us to explore your options today at 1.800.777.1085.