Have A Dental Cavity? Understanding The Different Fillings Available

If you have a dental cavity, your dentist is going to tell you it needs to have a filling to prevent further tooth decay. As dentistry has advanced, different materials have been used as dental fillings. Your dentist may prefer one type and only offer that, or you may be given the option of which filling you like. However, before making a choice, make sure that your insurance will cover it, or be prepared to pay for it on your own.


Gold was one of the original dental filling materials. While originally pure gold was used, now it is an alloy of gold mixed with other metals. It is very strong and will last a long time. Unfortunately, gold inlays can be difficult to place and cost more than other fillings. It should also be noted that gold fillings will be visible. If you do not want people to notice your fillings, gold would not be a good idea.


Porcelain inlays will best match your natural teeth. Once placed, no one will ever know you have a filling. However, porcelain is brittle and can crack or chip easier than the other filling materials. In addition because it is made of a non-crystal glass, it can scratch the enamel of other teeth as you chew or talk. Porcelain is not as expensive as gold, but does cost more than composite or amalgam fillings cost.


Composite fillings are made of an organic polymer. They are strong and do not require too much drilling to prepare the tooth before it can be applied. The material is white, so it does not stand out in your mouth as much as gold or amalgam fillings. The disadvantage to composite fillings is that they are susceptible to decay. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, composite fillings will look as bad as, if not worse, than a cavity. They are not as expensive as gold or porcelain, but do cost more than amalgam fillings cost.


Amalgam fillings are probably what you picture when thinking of dental fillings. They are an alloy of silver, tin, copper and mercury. Since they are the least expensive of the dental filling materials, they may be the only type your insurance will cover. Unfortunately, you may have to search a bit for a dentist who uses amalgam fillings as most have changed over to composite fillings.

Talk with your dentist to determine what it is you expect from a dental filling. If you want a filling that your dentist does not Use, you will need to find a different one. You can also ask your insurance company which type of filling they will pay for and which dentist you can go to for them. 

For more information, contact a professional like those at Southgate Dental Centre.