model replica of teeth with different types of filings: porcelain, silver and gold

What Type of Filling Should Be Used for My Cavity?

Learn more about the four most common type of dental fillings used when receiving treatment for a cavity.

Do you have a cavity? If so, it should be filled as soon as possible to avoid pain and other complications such as root canals. There are four main types of materials that are used by dentists, each one with its own benefits and limitations. For many, the main considerations are price, durability and appearance. However, we meet a lot of patients that often don’t realize fillings don’t last a lifetime! 

It is also very important to note that that how long your fillings last can be affected by their position in your mouth, the size of the filling, the amount and strength of remaining natural tooth structure, your oral hygiene, your diet and how often you receive preventive dental checkups. That being said, in general, gold and porcelain are stronger than composite and amalgam fillings.

Here are the key things you should know about the four most common types of dental filling. 

Common Filling Materials Used By Dentists

1. Mercury amalgam
Until fairly recently, mercury amalgam was the standard filling used by most dentists. They’re silver-coloured and made of an alloy of mercury, silver, copper and tin. These fillings are inexpensive and quite durable. The main downside is that they’re plainly visible when you smile and may expand over time, increasing the risk for tooth fractures. For this reason, most dentists use them sparingly such as when it is not possible to keep the procedure area dry.

2. Composite resin
Composite fillings can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth and are relatively invisible as a result. Most dentists today will use composite as their standard filling material, especially in adult teeth and on any tooth that’s visible when you laugh, talk or eat. Though a little more expensive than amalgam, it is an excellent filling for small to medium cavities.

3. Porcelain
Porcelain fillings are the least noticeable type and are resistant to staining. They’re therefore an excellent choice for tooth surfaces that will be visible. However, they’re more expensive than composite resin and may require two visits for the dentist to fit into place.

4. Gold
Gold has long been used as a material for fillings, crowns and false teeth. Gold dental work is also used decoratively by some people. It’s extremely durable and costs are similar to porcelain. The only drawback is that, since they are made of real gold, they are not tooth colored which can be an aesthetic challenge for many patients. 

A Dental Clinic in Red Deer You Can Count On

If you’ve got cavities, we can help! Contact us at Parkland Mall Dental Centre for cavities, fillings and all other kinds of dental treatment. Our team of dentists will be happy to review your options with you and help choose the right course of action to meet your needs.