Oral & Vision Health Blog

Know the Different Types of Dental Fillings Available to You

There are three main types of dental fillings available to people who require them: gold, silver amalgam and composite. Each of these different options has its own unique set of advantages. It’s a good idea that you learn the pros and cons of each of these fillings to have an educated discussion with your dental professional. Together you can make the best possible dental care decision. Let's explore these fillings in more depth!

Gold fillings

The durability and strength of these fillings is top-notch. Their average lifespan is anywhere between 10-15 years, and they are more than capable of handling all of the force that comes with chewing food.

Gold is the most expensive filling option. It can be up to 10 times more expensive than the silver amalgam filling options. You will be required to visit the dental office at least twice to get these fillings properly placed as well. Sometimes a rare occurrence called galvanic shock can occur if you also have silver amalgam fillings too. The gold, silver and saliva interact and can create an electric current. This causes a sharp pain for the patient. It’s very rare however.

Silver amalgam fillings

These metal fillings are also very durable and strong. They can withstand the normal forces exerted on them for a lifespan of 10-15 years just like gold fillings. These fillings are also cheaper than gold or composite fillings.

The aesthetics of silver fillings, however, may not be as desirable. The metals can cause a grayish hue to occur in the area surrounding the filling. In a lot of cases your dental professional will have to take out more tooth just to fit these fillings into the teeth. All teeth expand and contract when hot or cold foods are consumed. But, silver fillings may allow for a greater degree of expansion and contraction which can lead to cracks in the teeth.

Composite fillings

These are the most aesthetically pleasing fillings. They can be closely matched to the natural color of your teeth, so that it is hardly noticeable that you even have a filling. Composite fillings naturally bond to your tooth's structure, providing even more support. Generally speaking, less tooth needs to be removed to put these fillings in, so you keep more tooth.

The life of composite fillings, however, isn't always the best. They generally last about five-10 years. The force of chewing can be too much for composite fillings at times depending on the size of the filling. And, composites are about twice as expensive as silver and takes about twenty more minutes to complete the procedure.

These are the most common types of fillings. Sometimes glass or ceramic is used, but chances are the above mentioned fillings will be what is offered. It is wise to speak with your dental professional regarding your fillings, so you can make the most educated decision.

Need a filling and have questions?  Check out our free Dental Fillings Guide!