Which Type of Filling is Right for Me?

One of the most common dental problems is when a filling falls out, followed by #$@&%*! This brings up a lot of questions …. What to do now? If the majority of the tooth is intact then the first option is to replace the filling. It is important to know that there is not a perfect filling. Each filling material has different properties.

The most popular filling is a composite. It is a resin that is reinforced and strengthened with nano particles. It is bonded to tooth structure by locking finger-like projects into a porous surface created by a weak acid. This process is technique sensitive and requires isolation from moisture. Composite is esthetic, polishable, and has good longevity as long as a good bond is maintained.

Glass ionomer, GI, is another “tooth-colored” material. GI is mixed just before placing. As it sets, it creates a weld-like bond and is less technique sensitive because it is moisture friendly. Another great benefit is that it absorbs and releases fluoride, helping prevent future decay from acid attacks. This bond is not as strong as composite and the initial strength of the GI is weaker but gets as strong as enamel over time. It works great in non-chewing areas.

Lastly is silver amalgam. It is the strongest of all the materials and can have great longevity. There are concerns with the mercury contained in amalgam; however, years of research shows its safety. Many people choose other materials because it is not aesthetic and is a possible health concern.