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Some Basics About The Dental Filling

Although it takes less muscles to smile than to frown (as the popular saying goes), keeping those pearly whites at their healthiest and shiniest is no laughing matter. Dental health is now understood within the context of total physical well-being. In other words, sometimes those bleeding gums and sensitive teeth are indicative of a more serious health problem.

Fortunately, for most people, maintaining oral health is a matter of avoiding certain foods, regular flossing and brushing with dental curing light one's teeth at least twice a day. Sometimes, however, even the most fastidious flosser and regular brusher can end up with a cavity.
The Most Common Types of Dental Fillings
Only your dentist can help you decide which filling is the right one to use to fill your cavity. The choice depends on where the cavity is, the degree of tooth decay and, of course, the cost to you. The most common fillings from which you and your dentist can choose are silver amalgam, cast gold, composite resin, ceramic, and glass ionomers.
Amalgam fillings are used to fill cavities in the back teeth and are the least expensive of filling dental material. They are strong, highly durable and can put up with a lot of intense chewing action. However, they corrode and tarnish over time.
Gold fillings are not pure gold, but they are more expensive than silver amalgams by as much as six to 10 times. It takes an extra visit to the dentist for a gold filling, but it is as durable as silver amalgam and does not corrode over time.
Another type of filling material is called composite. This is a mixture of glass and quarts and is white or tooth-colored. Composite is used to fill small to mid-sized cavities. An advantage of composite besides being white is that the dentist does not have to drill as deeply or remove as much of the tooth to make room for this material.
The filling material are glass ionomers. This is a translucent, tooth-colored material made from acrylic acids and fine glass powders. It's used often to fix areas near the root of a tooth. Another kind of ionomer is called resin ionomer which is a mixture of glass filler, acrylic acids and acrylic resins. Like composite, ionomers requires the removal of less tooth structure than amalgam. This substance can also release tiny amount of fluoride which help teeth stay strong.
Dental fillings can also be made from porcelain, one of the dentist's favorite choices. Many people associate porcelain with crowns or veneers, but porcelain can also be used as a filling material. It's strong and can match the color of the tooth. A slight drawback of porcelain is that it can cause wear on the tooth opposite of it if the porcelain become rough with use over time.
There are many other kinds of fillings, from porcelain-fused to-metal, to a variety of other metals, including various gold alloys. Most people don't care what fills their teeth as long as they come out with a healthy smile that looks good. But knowing the variety of filling materials makes you better informed and will enable you to discuss your treatment options from a standpoint of greater knowledge with your dentist.