To treat early decay, the dentist will remove decayed tissue from the tooth and then fill the resulting cavity with a filling. Dental fillings are also used to repair broken or fractured teeth.
Dental filling materials and types
There are currently different dental filling materials on the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages:
- Silver amalgam
- Composite resins
- glass ionomer
Gold and porcelain
Dental restoration with gold and porcelain fillings requires a non-direct technique, where a prosthetic laboratory must manufacture the restoration piece to measure, and therefore several appointments have to be made to the clinic, therefore its cost is higher. They offer great durability.
Restoration with silver amalgam fillings is performed with the direct technique, being placed the same day that the caries cleaning is performed, in a single visit.
The main advantages of silver amalgam fillings over composite resin or glass ionomer fillings are their durability, the strength they can withstand, and the cost, which is usually lower.
Its main disadvantages are the poor aesthetics provided, being metallic in color, the great destruction of tooth structure that is necessary to contain the filling, the discoloration that they produce in the surrounding tooth structure, and the wide degree of expansion and contraction that it causes. a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.
In addition, there is currently a great controversy regarding silver amalgam fillings because they contain mercury in their composition and, although there are no studies where a link has been found between the presentation of amalgam and health problems, the European Commission has established a regulation that, gradually, aims to eliminate the use of compounds that contain mercury in their composition and can be applied to the population.
Composite resin and glass ionomer
Also known as white fillings, being the same color as the tooth. For these fillings, a direct technique is also used where the restoration is performed in a single visit.
The main advantage of these fillings is aesthetic since the tone and color of the fillings of a cavity can be combined with the color of the tooth. In addition, by chemically joining the tooth structure, they provide greater support, requiring less preparation. The main disadvantage is that they wear out earlier than amalgam fillings