If you have a cavity that needs a dental filling, there are different types of materials to do the job. Common fillings materials include amalgam, gold, porcelain and composite. Here, our North York dentists explain the differences among them.
Dental fillings can be made from a variety of materials, including amalgam, porcelain, gold, and composite. All these materials have been proven safe and long-lasting, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
Composite fillings are plastic tooth-coloured fillings that look and feel natural when placed in a patient's mouth.
Composite fillings are the same colour as your natural teeth so they blend in nicely with your surrounding teeth. They are also easy for a dentist to shape and sculpt onto a tooth and can bond naturally to the tooth, which means your dentist doesn’t have to remove as much existing enamel during preparation.
To place this type of filling, your dentist will remove decay from the tooth and add a bonding material on the inside of the hole. Composite resin is then placed in the hole in thin layers. Each layer hardens with the help of a curing light. When the last layer of the filling is hard, your dentist will shape the filling to match your natural teeth.
Porcelain fillings, made in combination with metal, are hard and brittle creating a strong, tooth-coloured dental restoration.
A porcelain filling is made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist, who cements it in place in your mouth, and usually requires at least two dental appointments to place.
Amalgam fillings are silver in colour and often used to fill teeth located at the back of the mouth. They are a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, copper and tin.
While the silver colour may not appeal to people who want a natural look, they are a durable option for molars which receive a lot of wear and tear.
Cast gold fillings are based on a model of your tooth. They are made from a mixture of gold with other metals such as silver and copper.
A cast gold filling is made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist, who cements it in place in your mouth, so this type of filling generally requires at least two dental appointments.