When it comes to having a cavity filled, it’s important to know that you have the right to decide, after consultation with your dentist, what treatments and materials are used for your dental care. Your dentist considers materials to use on an individualized basis, taking into account the size and location of your cavity. Cosmetic considerations, how long the filling could last, insurance coverage and out of pocket costs are some other factors you might want to consider. The ADA encourages you to talk with your dentist so that together you may choose the material that’s right for you.
Here are some common dental filling options:
- Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, are a mixture of glass or quartz filler that provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth.
- Dental amalgam, sometimes described as “silver-colored” fillings, is made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Dental amalgam has been used for generations by dentists. Amalgam is very durable and more affordable than tooth-colored or gold fillings; however tooth-colored materials are more natural looking.
- Gold fillings, also called inlays or onlays, are composed of an alloy of gold, copper and other metals. Gold has been used in dentistry for more than 1,000 years due to its durability; however, gold is more costly than amalgam and not natural looking like tooth-colored fillings.
If you want a smile that’s your crowning glory, you may need a crown to cover a tooth to help restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance.
A crown can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.
If your dentist recommends a crown, it is probably to correct one of these conditions. Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.
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