Fillings are a common dental treatment used to fill in small-medium cavities in teeth that are caused by tooth decay. During the treatment of a cavity; the decayed material of a tooth is removed, the area completely cleaned, and then the cavity can be filled in using filling material that will restore the normal shape and function of the damaged tooth. The purpose of the filling is to prevent further decay by denying bacteria direct access to the vulnerable, inner layers of your tooth.
Depending on the severity of the tooth decay, a root canal or dental crown may be required to treat the tooth rather than a simple filling. The best treatment for tooth decay is always early prevention through maintenance of good oral hygiene habits.Contact Carson & Carson, DDS Today
Types of Fillings Used
- Composite Resin: Resin fillings are the most commonly used type of filling today. Compared to other types of materials, composite fillings offer the advantage of being tooth colored. Their average cost is slightly higher than amalgam fillings, and their average life expectancy is between 7-10 years. Resin fillings are the most difficult to place as the cavity must be kept dry and clean during the whole procedure. Not all resin fillings are covered under insurance.
- Amalgam (Silver): Amalgam fillings are quite durable and have been used for over 150 years. They are the most cost effective option being the cheapest, and longest lasting type of filling. The average life expectancy of a silver filling is between 10-15 years. Compared to porcelain or resin fillings, amalgam fillings are highly visible because they are silver colored. These types of fillings are composed of a mixture of elemental mercury and a metal alloy powder containing silver, copper, and tin. Despite the controversy of mercury in these fillings, it has been deemed by both the FDA and EPA that the amount of mercury vapor released from amalgam fillings is well within the limit of being safe for individuals over the age of 6. Let us know if you are allergic to any of the materials used in amalgam fillings before treatment.
- Gold: Gold fillings offer the longest lasting durability and the highest price tag. Being an expensive commodity, the cost of a gold filling is somewhere close to 10x greater than the cost of amalgam or composite fillings, but it also carries the longest average life expectancy of 15-30 years. This type of filling is not usually used in highly visible areas like the front teeth because the gold material used is highly visible.
- Porcelain: Porcelain filling restorations offer the advantage of being naturally colored similarly to composite fillings, but are up to 2x more durable lasting between 10-20 years. These types of natural looking fillings are almost as expensive as gold fillings, but are also the second most durable.
Fillings Before and After
Both composite resin and porcelain fillings can be more expensive and can have shorter lifespans than their metal counterparts, but are practically indistinguishable from your natural tooth.
Which Type of Filling is the Best?
The best type of filling material is different for every situation. Gold is the most durable by quite a margin, but is also stands out on the look of teeth and is the most expensive by far. Silver or amalgam fillings are the cheapest, have a good length lifetime, but are also highly visible. Resin offers a middle ground in terms of the price and last the least longest of any type of filling, but carry the advantage of being nearly invisible compared to natural tooth structure. Porcelain is another expensive option that lasts up to 2x longer than composite fillings and is also invisible. Allergies to the different materials used should be also considered when factoring in which type of filling to get.
So, the optimal type of filling really depends on the cost, location of the tooth needing restoration, and aesthetic preference of the patient. If you don’t mind having visible restorations, then amalgam fillings offer the most cost-effective option in terms of durability per dollar.
Affordable Fillings at Carson & Carson, DDS
We have performed thousands of restorations using many different types of filling materials at Carson & Carson, DDS in Oxnard, California. Our two dentist have over 60 years of combined experience in many fields of dentistry and are proud to offer 24/7 availability for emergency dental treatment. Call today to schedule an appointment with a premier Oxnard dentist – Carson & Carson, DDS (805) 983-0717. We accept many forms of dental insurance and offer a suite of affordable dental services.Schedule An Appointment