If you need to get a dental filling done, you may wonder about the difference between tooth-colored and silver or amalgam fillings. Here, we cover the different types of filling and what to expect during the dental filling process. Without further ado, let’s jump into the topic at hand.
Types of Dental Fillings
There are three primary categories of fillings:
- Composite resins or tooth-colored fillings
- Dental amalgam or silver-colored fillings
- Gold fillings
Composite resins are made from glass or quartz and can be used on your front or back teeth. These fillings have the most natural look out of the three categories, as they can match your teeth exactly. Composite resin fillings are good for fixing small and medium-sized holes in your teeth and can withstand moderate pressure, making them an okay choice for chewing surfaces.
Dental amalgam, or silver-colored fillings, are in varying amounts of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. These fillings are more affordable than gold or tooth-colored fillings and quite durable, though they lack the natural look of tooth-colored fillings. Whether you prefer silver or tooth-colored fillings comes down to personal preference, as both fillings work equally well for your teeth.
Gold fillings are unsurprisingly made from gold, copper, and other metals. These are the most expensive fillings and do not appear natural, though they have been used in dentistry for at least a thousand years, making them a tried-and-true filling choice.
When Do I Need a Dental Filling?
If you have a cavity, you will likely need a dental filling. Your dentist must remove the damaged, decayed enamel and plug the hole left behind. Otherwise, you’ll get bacteria and food stuck in the hole left behind. Dental fillings can also replace the surface of your teeth if they wear away over time. Dental fillings allow you to keep teeth damaged by decay and act as a structural replacement for your natural enamel.
Dental Filling Process
If you need a dental filling, your dentist will first remove any surrounding decay in the cavity or on the surface of your teeth. This is done after numbing your mouth to prevent unnecessary discomfort during drilling and removing the cavity. Next, your dental team will clean the cavity and ensure no bacteria or food is left behind. Once clean, they will apply the filling of choice.
For composite resin fillings, the filling is first put into the space. Next, your dentist will use a UV light to cure the filling. This process may happen several times for a deep cavity to cure the resin better. Once cured, your dentist will shape the surface of the filling to match the rest of your teeth.
Your dentist will pack the filling material into your tooth in amalgam fillings. Once firmly packed in the cleaned-out space, your dentist will shape the surface of the amalgam to match your bite and surrounding teeth. These fillings take 24 hours to cure, so your dentist may recommend not chewing on that side of your mouth during that time.
If you have any questions about dental fillings or would like to schedule an appointment, contact