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Understanding the Different Types of Dental Fillings

Fillings are necessary to repair teeth damaged by decay so that they can function normally and further decay can be prevented.  Dr. Ritzau will review several factors when deciding which type of dental filling is best for your particular situation.  Some of these factors are: which tooth or teeth are in need of repair, how extensive a procedure is necessary, and how much it will cost. Below is a list of five different types and an outline of their various uses and advantages:

Amalgam

Amalgam is a combination of copper, zinc, tin, silver and 50% mercury.  It is used to fill the back teeth, last a minimum of ten years and is the least expensive option.

Some advantages are that it is strong enough to withstand chewing and can be completed in one dental visit.

Composite Resin

There are two types of Composite Resin fillings, Direct and Indirect.  Dr. Ritzau will place the Direct filling into your tooth and harden it with a bright, blue light.  With the Indirect method, she will take an impression, make a mold and place it into your tooth at the next visit.

Some advantages include:  it will match the color of your tooth, it is stronger than Amalgam, and less drilling is involved.

Cast Gold

Gold is used for inlays, outlays and crowns and usually last at least 15 years.

Some advantages are that gold doesn't corrode and it lasts longer than all other types of fillings.

 Ceramics

Ceramic is made of porcelain and is used for inlays, onlays, crowns, veneers, implants, and orthodontic brackets.

The advantages of ceramic are that it is tooth colored and it is more resistant to staining and breaking than Composite Resin.

Glass Ionomer

This has many uses, most commonly as a cement for inlays. Other uses include front teeth repair, around the necks of teeth, and in roots.  It is also used in baby teeth and as a liner for other types of fillings.

Glass Ionomer releases fluoride to help prevent further tooth decay and bonds to the tooth.  Bonding helps prevent leakage that also leads to further tooth decay.

Tooth decay is caused by the wearing away of the tooth's enamel.  Brushing, flossing and regular dental cleaning appointments with Dr. Ritzau can help prevent it.