Statistics show that you are likely to have a cavity, otherwise known as a dental carie, sometime in your life.  In fact, 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have cavities in their permanent teeth.  Fillings are used to strengthen and restore decayed teeth.  Although your dentist may have a go-to filling preference, a variety of different materials are available to fill your cavity.  Here are a few tips to choose the best filling for your cavity.


Gold fillings are the most expensive option.  However, sometimes, you get what you pay for.  After all, gold fillings are said to last at least 10 to 15 years.  Gold is also non-corrosive, strong, and can stand up to the workout your teeth get on a daily basis.  Be careful about putting a gold filling next to a silver one.  The interaction between the two unlike metals, along with saliva, can produce an electric current.  This can cause a galvanic shock: a painful jolting sensation in one or more teeth.   


If you're looking for an inexpensive option to fill your cavity, amalgam may be a good choice for you.  Like gold, amalgam can handle the forces of chewing.  While these fillings are often called silver fillings, they are comprised of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy made up of silver, tin, and copper.  Silver amalgam also contains mercury and some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to this substance.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems amalgam fillings safe for adults and kids who are at least six years old.  


If you want to look as if you don't have any fillings at all, composite resin fillings are the answer, especially if you have a cavity in one of your front teeth.  Composite resin not only looks more natural, it also mimics your tooth's natural dentin, otherwise known as the inner part of your tooth.  Made from plastic resin and silica filler, composite resin is applied in layers and hardened with a curing light.  This process can take longer than an amalgam filling.  Finally, the filling is shaped to fit your cavity and then polished.  Composite can cost up to twice as much as an amalgam filling.  In addition, the material only lasts about five years, especially if it was used on a larger cavity.  


Constructed from porcelain, ceramic fillings are tooth-colored, durable, and less likely to stain than composite.  Ceramic costs about the same as a gold fillings and can also last up to 15 years.  On the other hand, porcelain is more brittle than composite.  For this reason, the filling needs to be big enough so it doesn't break.  

Every filling has its pros and cons.  It's up to you to decide on the best option for your teeth.  Your family dental care provider can also help you make an informed decision. To learn more, contact a business like Couchman Center for Complete Dentistry.