When it comes time to get your cavities filled, you should know that you have a choice as to what cavity filling material you want. In the past, your dentist—and you—had only one option. Today, your dentist may offer you several different options. So that you don’t have to make a spur-of-the-moment choice, it makes sense to learn a little bit about the options available ahead of time. Following are some of the choices your dentist may give you for your cavity filling.
Amalgam is one of the most well-known types of cavity filling materials. Amalgam is most commonly a mix—or an amalgam—of mercury, silver tin, and copper. It is considered by many to be a potentially dangerous and outdated option because of the mercury. People who have this filling may be susceptible to health problems if the mercury vapors get released from the filling after many years. However, many people feel that amalgam fillings are perfectly safe. In fact, amalgam fillings are strong and long-lasting.
Pro: Lasts long and is strong
Con: Has mercury and other metals that may pose health risks
Composite resin is a mix of plastic and glass powder. This mixture is a shade of white in color, which makes it blend in with the rest of your teeth. For this reason and others, the composite resin is sometimes used to make aesthetic artificial teeth. In addition, the composite resin is considered to be perfectly safe. Lastly, composite resin fillings are easier and faster to use compared to amalgam fillings.
Pro: Blends in well with your real tooth
Con: Isn’t as strong as amalgam
Finally, there are is an option called glass ionomer cement. This is basically a mixture of glass and acrylic called glass ionomer cement. The biggest advantage to this cavity filling material is that it doesn’t need any binding agents and it typically reacts more naturally with the teeth and gums. It’s most often used for cavities below the gum line.
Pro: Easier to install; less painful, considered to be very safe
Con: Not as strong as some other options
Depending on your personal preferences and budget, one of these cavity filling material options will be right for you. Talk to your dentist about your dental health goals.