Getting your first dental filling is almost a ritual to go through at some point in your life. That's because 90% of adults have a cavity in one of their permanent teeth. It's a pretty common experience, but if you have never had a cavity you might not know what to expect. You actually have a choice about the kind of material used for your dental filling. Price and life expectancies are usually the deciding factors, but many people make the choice based on color as well. Know the following 3 things about the fillings so that you can be prepared.
You have 4 materials to choose from.
Gold is a filling option that many people picture when they think of filling material, but going with gold can be very expensive. Expect to pay 10 times as much as a comparable silver filling. The benefit of using gold is that it will last between 10-15 years, making it very durable. A silver filling will be much more affordable than gold and has a similar longevity at 10-15 years.
Ceramic fillings are comparable to a gold filling, and can even outlast gold. The material can be quite abrasive though, which is not great for people that have issues with teeth grinding. A composite resin filling is cheap, but only expect to get 5 years out of it.
Silver and gold fillings are noticeable to others, which can be unappealing to some people. You may not like how the silver will turn dark over time. It's possible that you will want to replace a silver filling down the road purely due to looks. If the cavity is in a back molar, color may not even be an issue because nobody will ever see it.
Composite resin fillings will work best for cavities on your front teeth or on the front surface of teeth. The material looks completely natural, and even stains or whitens like a natural tooth so that it will always blend in.
While complications are rare, they do happen. Thermal expansion can happen with metal fillings, which happens when eating food that is very hot. It may cause the tooth to crack if the expansion happens quickly. Uneven fillings can also create uneven bites that make chewing uncomfortable, but the problem can be corrected.
Now that you know the basics behind these filling materials, you are able to make an informed decision when asked about what material you want.
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