There are plenty of choices when it comes to dental fillings. Finding the right one depends highly on durability, aesthetics, and, of course, cost.
Silver fillings are made of more than just silver, hence the name. Aside from silver, metals like tin and mercury contribute to this highly durable filling. Despite having a lifespan of up to a decade and a half, it might fall on the lower spectrum of desirability. Amalgam fillings have poor aesthetic quality and, because it can expand and contract, might cause your tooth to crack.
Using cast gold as a filling costs as much as ten times what an amalgam would. However, these will not discolour the surrounding tooth area or corrode. You will need two visits to the clinic to complete the restoration. Note that having gold and amalgam fillings next to each other may cause galvanic shock. This effect is a reaction of the saliva with the two metals causing an electric current to form. It is rare for this to occur, however. But as with amalgams, despite being fancier to look at, it’s still not so aesthetically pleasing.
The most commonly used filling is the tooth-coloured composite. It is almost impossible to differentiate composite filling from the original tooth, thus allowing for the natural aesthetic of your smile to show. The disadvantage of composites is that these are more fragile, averaging a lifespan of five years. It takes longer to apply composites, however, these are also more versatile. Aside from filling cavities, this can be used to repair and reshape teeth. Priory Dental Practice notes that your dentist will need to remove less of the tooth when applying the composite compared to the amalgam and it chemically bonds with the remaining tooth thus allowing it to strengthen against further decay. Composites usually cost around double that of an amalgam would cost you.
The Perfect Bite
Consider your needs. On average, most would find composites to their satisfaction. However, if long-term durability is your primary concern, you may have to sacrifice aesthetics to get it. Discuss the choices with your dentist so you can get a clearer view of your options.