Different Types of Dental Fillings


If you have a cavity, you may need a dental filling to restore your tooth and prevent further decay. But did you know that there are different types of dental fillings available, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages? Dr Beeram at Beach Grove Dental in Tsawwassen would like to explain the main types of dental fillings and how to choose the best one for your smile. He will also share some tips on how to prevent cavities and why you should visit your family dentist regularly.

What are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are materials that are used to fill the hole or gap left by a cavity. A cavity is a permanently damaged area of the tooth where it has decayed and formed an opening. Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acid that erodes the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss.

Dental fillings can help repair the damage caused by cavities and restore the function and appearance of the tooth. They can also prevent further decay and protect the tooth from sensitivity and infection. Dental fillings are usually placed in one or two visits, depending on the type and size of the filling.

What are the Different Types of Dental Fillings?

There are different types of dental fillings, such as gold, silver amalgam, composite resin, ceramic, and glass ionomer. Each type has its own pros and cons, depending on factors such as durability, aesthetics, cost, and compatibility. Here is a brief overview of each type:

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are made of a mixture of gold and other metals. They are very durable and can last for more than 15 years. They are also resistant to corrosion and wear. 

Naturally, gold fillings are expensive. They may also require more than one visit to place. As you may expect, they can be more noticeable and may not match the colour of your natural teeth.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of mercury and other metals, such as silver, tin, zinc, and copper. They tend to be very durable and can last for more than 10 years. Another reason why they are popular is that they are also relatively inexpensive and easy to place. 

On the other hand, they are noticeable and may not match the colour of your natural teeth and require more tooth removal to fill the cavity. There is also a possibility that they can cause discolouration of the surrounding tooth structure and create cracks or gaps over time. 

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin fillings are made of a tooth-coloured plastic and glass material. They are very aesthetic and can match the colour and shape of your natural teeth. They are also bonded to the tooth, providing additional support and strength. Additionally, they are versatile and can be used for other types of tooth repairs, such as chips or cracks.

However, they may be less durable and can last for about five to 10 years. Furthermore, they may be more likely to chip, stain, or wear over time. They are also more expensive than silver amalgam fillings.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain or other ceramic materials. They are aesthetically pleasing and can match the colour and translucency of your natural teeth. Unlike composite resin fillings, they are resistant to staining and abrasion. What’s more, ceramic fillings are more durable than most other fillings, lasting at least 15 years.

Unfortunately, ceramic fillings are expensive and may require more than one visit to size and place. They are also not recommended for chipped teeth or very small cavities since they are a little bulky. 

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are made of a mixture of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. They are mostly used for fillings below the gum line since they can be weak and not appropriate for surfaces or areas where chewing takes place. They have the advantage of releasing fluoride, which can help prevent future decay. They can also bond to the tooth, forming a tight seal that prevents leakage. 

One of the main disadvantages of ionomer fillings is their high cost. As we already mentioned, they are best used in small non-chewing areas as they are weak and can break or weaken neighbouring teeth.

How to Choose the Right Dental Filling for Your Smile?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different types of dental fillings may suit different people and situations. The best way to choose the right dental filling for your smile is to consult with your family dentist, who can examine your tooth and recommend the most suitable option for you. Your dentist will consider factors such as:

  • The location and size of the cavity
  • The function and appearance of the tooth
  • The cost and availability of the filling material
  • Your personal preference and expectations
  • Your medical and dental history and allergies

Your dentist will explain the pros and cons of each type of dental filling and answer any questions you may have. You can also ask to see samples or photos of each type of filling to get a better idea of how they look and feel. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but your dentist can help you make an informed decision that meets your needs and goals.

How to Prevent Cavities and Why You Should Visit Your Family Dentist at Least Twice a Year?

The best way to prevent cavities is to practice good oral hygiene and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Here are some tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy and cavity-free:

dental care with man regularly brushing his teeth
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for at least two minutes and make sure to reach all surfaces of your teeth and tongue.
  • Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under your gum line.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after eating or drinking, especially if you consume sugary or acidic foods or beverages.
  • Avoid or limit snacks and drinks that are high in sugar, starch, or acid, such as candy, soda, juice, or coffee. These can erode your enamel and feed the bacteria that cause cavities.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and wash away food and bacteria. Water also contains fluoride, which can strengthen your enamel and prevent decay.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals to stimulate saliva production and neutralize acids in your mouth.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes foods that are good for your teeth, such as cheese, yogurt, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These can provide calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, and antioxidants that can protect and repair your enamel and gums.
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products, which can stain your teeth, damage your gums, and increase your risk of oral cancer.
  • Visit your family dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can detect and treat any signs of decay or other dental problems before they become worse. Your dentist can also remove plaque and tartar that you cannot remove with brushing and flossing alone. Your dentist can also apply fluoride or sealants to your teeth to prevent cavities.

Contact Beach Grove Dental’s Dr Beeram

If you have a cavity or suspect that you may have one, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact us today at Beach Grove Dental to schedule an appointment with Dr Beeram, your family dentist in Tsawwassen South Delta. 

A patient sitting in a dental chair and a dentist at Beach Grove Dental having a discussion about the results of a dental checkup

Dr Beeram is an experienced and compassionate dentist who can provide you with professional dental care and the right dental fillings for your smile. Dr. Beeram can help you restore your damaged or decaying teeth and prevent further decay. Don’t let a cavity ruin your smile and your oral health. Call us at (604) 330-1163 and let us help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that you can be proud of.