Cavities are one of the most common dental health issues that you can experience, and they are caused by enamel breakdown of your teeth. This is a form of tooth decay and can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort if left unchecked. Thankfully, there are a number of different options available to treat cavities. Understanding the different types of fillings and treatment options that are available to you can help you choose the option that best suits your dental needs.
Amalgam fillings are the most common type of treatment option used to fill cavities, largely because of their low cost. They are made up of a collection of many different metals, hence the name, and provide a durable and resistant solution to cavities. However, the main downside of amalgam fillings is the fact that they are bright and silver in color, which means that they are highly noticeable. This makes them ideal for cavities in the back of your mouth, but not in any teeth that are visible when you smile.
Composite fillings are made out of specialized resins and synthetic materials and have the same color as the rest of your teeth. This makes them the ideal solution for cavities located at the front of your mouth or in visible teeth. However, composite fillings are somewhat more expensive than amalgam fillings are, and they can take multiple visits to be completely installed, as the resin is applied in layers. Further, it should be noted that composite fillings can also be stained over time due to exposure to food and drinks.
Glass fillings are made out of glass and acrylic that is mixed together to form a filling that is the same color as the rest of your teeth. However, unlike composite and amalgam fillings, glass fillings are not very durable and are susceptible to damage and cracking if installed in areas of your mouth that receive a great deal of chewing or physical wear. This makes them only really ideal for cavities that are located on the sides of your teeth, as installing them on surface cavities can mean that they will become damaged and will need to be reinstalled or replaced.
Your dentist can also take a custom mold of your teeth and your cavities and then create a custom crown and filling to protect your teeth from further decay and cavity development. This is the most expensive and time consuming process for filling your teeth, and these restorations can be made from a wide variety of different materials, including gold and porcelain. Talk to your dentist to see if custom restorations are within your budget and would help proactively protect your teeth.
If your cavity has progressed to the point that your tooth must be extracted, there are still a variety of tooth replacement options that your dentist can still give you, such as dental implants. For more information about cavity fillings and other tooth care or replacement options, talk with a dentist in your area, such as those at Crest Hill Family Dental.