When you visit your dentist at Nashville Center for Aesthetic Dentistry for a toothache that requires that a hole, or decay, to be repaired the typical procedure is to drill out the remaining decay and fill the resulting hole. The material used to fill your tooth needs to be pliable during the repair process, but then extremely stable and durable as it lasts many years in your mouth. Dentists typically use either a functional but not attractive metal – made of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, mercury, copper and zinc; or natural tooth-colored plastic composite fillings made from plastic and glass particles.
Each method has its own pros and cons to be aware of, and it ultimately depends on what option your dentist offers. Here are a few different characteristics these types of restorative options can or cannot offer:
- Natural-looking – The tooth-colored filling definitely blends in with your teeth and makes a better option for fixing teeth visible at the front of your mouth.
- Restyled Teeth – Tooth-colored material can help brighten and reshape the look of your smile while also repairing tooth defects, whereas the metal fillings cannot achieve this.
- Tooth Drilling – Another advantage of a tooth-colored filling is that it requires less drilling to be effective. The metal filling does not bond well with your bone and this is why dentists have to ream out a larger hole with more drilling.
- Durability – The metal filling is usually more durable than plastic composite fillings, which means less need for maintenance.
- Harder to install – The plastic resin filling provides the best appearance, but it is harder to install. The plastic composite material is sensitive to moisture, and it takes longer to match the filling color to your teeth. These fillings need to be installed in layers giving each one a long time to dry and cure.
- Cost Comparison – Because the process is more difficult, it is not surprising that the tooth-colored fillings are more expensive than the silver option.
- Aesthetics – Even if only used in molars at the back of your mouth, people can see the dark filling whenever you yawn, laugh, or talk. This is the primary reason patients choose to get tooth-colored.
- Waiting period – You will need to wait a few hours before eating after getting a silver filling but with a plastic composite tooth-colored filling there is no need to wait since it was already hardened.
- Allergic Reactions: One major concern with the silver option is that some patients can have an allergic reaction to the metal mixture used. If you are aware of an allergy to silver, you should not get this type of filling.
There are good options for tooth filling. You can choose either silver or tooth-colored fillings. Talk with your dentist to discuss these two options and determine which is right for you.