Tooth fillings are common ways to repair broken, cracked, or worn down teeth. Unfortunately, the most common types of tooth fillings are dental amalgam, glass ionomer, and porcelain. If you're considering a filling, it's important to understand how each material works and the risks they pose to your oral health. A dental amalgam is an option, but it can be invasive and may contain mercury, so you'll want to avoid it.
Porcelain fillings look natural
If you'd like a tooth filling that looks completely natural, porcelain is the way to go. Not only are these fillings safe and nontoxic, but they also look completely different from regular fillings. Plus, the procedure usually only requires one visit to the dentist. And, since porcelain is designed to match the color of your natural tooth, it won't look or feel like a filling at all.
Tooth decay is caused when plaque remains on the tooth's surface for too long, allowing acids to eat away at the enamel. These acids then cause a cavity, a tiny hole in the tooth. If left untreated, the hole can grow to a significant size, causing pain and even tooth loss. For these reasons, porcelain fillings are a better choice than metal. Although they can cost more, they are still more aesthetic than their silver and metal counterparts.
Another benefit of porcelain fillings is that they look completely natural, reducing the likelihood of a crown. Because they are cemented onto the teeth, they won't move around or shift, allowing bacteria to flourish. Metal fillings, on the other hand, expand and contract with hot and cold foods, causing cracks to form. In contrast, porcelain fillings maintain their shape in all conditions, allowing patients to keep their original teeth for as long as possible.
Glass ionomer fillings are less invasive
Dental professionals prefer glass ionomer fillings over composite ones because of their strong adhesion to the tooth's surface and lower failure rate. Glass ionomer fillings are also less noticeable than amalgam fillings, which are the most common types of tooth fillings. However, they are not as durable as amalgam fillings and may require two visits to the dentist.
Although they are not as durable as other tooth fillings, glass ionomer fillings can preserve the structural integrity of the tooth, which makes them a good alternative for large cavities. Glass ionomer fillings also require less preparation and are more affordable than amalgam fillings. However, they are not as strong as gold fillings, which is the reason they are not as popular with patients.
Another advantage of glass ionomer fillings is that they are more aesthetically pleasing. Unlike amalgam fillings, glass ionomer fillings are easy to place. They do not require an activator and fit into any standard glass ionomer applicator. Additionally, glass ionomer fillings are less likely to leak acid.
A dental technician can fill a cavity with a glass ionomer, which mimics the color of the tooth. They also give off fluoride, which can improve your oral health. Glass ionomer fillings are less invasive than traditional composite resin. A glass ionomer filling should last for five years or more and are comparable in price to composite resin fillings.
Dental amalgam fillings contain mercury
Although you might not know it, dental amalgam fillings contain mercury. This substance can accumulate in any organ of the body, including the brain. As much as 80% of the vapor from amalgam fillings is absorbed by the lungs, passing through the bloodstream to the kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal tract. Mercury that accumulates in the brain has a half-life of several decades. As a result, this metal poses a serious risk to human health.
Although the FDA has deemed dental amalgams safe for people over six, there is no solid scientific evidence to support this safety claim. However, limited studies have suggested that mercury vapor exposure can cause harm to fetuses and nursing babies. The FDA recently raised the danger classification of dental amalgam from class I to class II, requiring more stringent regulation. Despite this, a recent investigation has cast doubt on the safety of mercury-filled dental amalgams.
The toxic effects of dental mercury can vary from person to person. Symptoms may be present immediately or they may occur years later. Individuals' response to dental mercury is influenced by a number of co-existing factors, such as gender, age, health conditions, and a number of amalgam fillings in the mouth. In addition, genetic predisposition, dental plaque, and dietary habits may influence a person's personalized reaction to dental mercury.
Indirect fillings are used when there isn't enough tooth structure to support a filling
When a tooth is too damaged to support a crown, an indirect filling is used instead. In this case, a dental lab will create a crown or filling from a ceramic material. An inlay is a similar procedure, while an onlay covers one or more cusps. These are also sometimes called partial crowns. Temporary fillings aren't permanent and usually wear out within a month.
The longevity of a dental filling depends on the type of material used, the location of the restoration, and your oral health. In general, fillings last between five and 10 years. Some can even last for 15 years. In addition to providing a strong and durable restoration, fillings can be removed without any pain, which is an important consideration when deciding on a dental procedure.
There are several types of dental fillings. Composite resin, gold, and silver amalgam are common materials used. Indirect fillings are more expensive than crowns and may require several office visits. Composite resins and glass ionomer can chip off the tooth, making them less attractive. However, they don't stain as easily as glass amalgam fillings, which can cost twice as much as a crown.
Indirect fillings can be used in cases where a tooth doesn't have enough structural support for a traditional filling. This method is often preferred when the tooth is still healthy and has enough bone and pulp to support a filling. A direct filling is usually completed in one dental appointment, but if it doesn't, indirect fillings may be necessary.
Composite resin fillings are durable
If you have decayed teeth, you may be interested in learning more about composite resin fillings. The material is made of urethane dimethacrylate (PMMA) and contains glass, quartz, silica, and pyrogen. Composite resin fillings are more durable and cost about one-half of the price of amalgam fillings. While they last longer, composite fillings are also more costly and may require more frequent replacement.
A composite resin filling is applied to the tooth in layers and cured with a dental-grade light. Because the material is not permanent, it shrinks during the polymerization process. The process results in a durable tooth restoration that is as natural-looking as possible. It can last for up to 15 years. This type of filling is an excellent choice for patients who have sensitivity to metal or mercury fillings.
Composite resin fillings bond tightly to the tooth surface, strengthening teeth more effectively than metal fillings. Composite resin fillings also require less tissue removal during the preparation process. The material is also more stable than metal fillings and does not change size with temperature. Composite resin fillings are long-lasting, lasting for at least five years with proper care. However, certain foods can damage the material, so you should avoid eating them if you have composite fillings.
Although composite resin fillings are not as long-lasting as silver amalgam fillings, they are more affordable. Silver amalgam fillings are more noticeable when the mouth is opened wide and can crack the teeth. They may also allow food to get under the filling, causing additional decay. Composite resin fillings are nearly unnoticeable and are less likely to stain your teeth. That makes them an ideal choice for those who have severe dental problems.
Glass ionomer fillings release fluoride
The release of fluoride from glass ionomer fillings in humans is not well understood, but it has been suggested that these materials may affect enamel, dentin, and plaque. The uptake of fluoride does not always occur in the same way in humans as it does in labs. In the present study, the release of fluoride from glass ionomer fillings in humans was measured using artificial saliva.
Fluoride-releasing materials include glass ionomer cement, base, and liner. The researchers measured fluoride uptake by the glass ionomer cement over the first week of a study. The study also assessed the Fluoride release from composite resins and teeth. Researchers used a sequential-transfer model to study the effects of glass ionomer cement on fluoride uptake and release in humans.
Fluoride release by glass ionomers is a common phenomenon in all GI materials. However, the release occurs in two distinct phases. The first occurs within the first 24 hours following mixing and is caused by the dissolution of glass particles by polyacrylic acid. Subsequently, the release of fluoride continues, but it is likely below the therapeutic level for preventing secondary caries.
Fluoride release by glass ionomers is not a common issue in conventional composite resins. Nevertheless, it is important to note that some resin-modified glass ionomer materials can release fluoride. The fluoride release from these materials is consistent with other studies involving conventional and resin-modified glass ionomers. This fluoride release is caused by dissolution, ion exchange, or both.