Cavities are tiny holes that develop on the surface of the tooth enamel due to poor oral hygiene or unhealthy eating habits. Cavities can result in tooth sensitivity, pain, and more severe complications if not treated immediately. Dental fillings can be used to restore your damaged teeth by removing areas of decay and carefully inserting a composite material into the cavity. However, every patient’s teeth are different, and the extent of their treatment will determine the type of material they need.
There are several types of material that can be used for your fillings. At La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics we only use composite resin (plastic) for smaller cavities and porcelain inlay or onlay fillings for larger cavities.
Composite resin (plastic) fillings use ingredients that can match the exact color of your teeth for a more natural appearance. They are placed directly onto the tooth and mold themselves into the cavity. While plastic fillings last up to 10 years, they cannot be used to treat severe tooth damage or decay. However, they are much more affordable than porcelain fillings.
Porcelain (inlays or onlays) fillings are ordered and customized in a lab. They are placed over the cavity and bonded to your tooth. Porcelain fillings are similar to gold fillings and can also be made to match the natural color of your teeth. While this material can be more expensive, it is long-lasting and far less noticeable than materials such as silver or gold.
Silver (amalgam) fillings are the most common and inexpensive option for treating cavities. While silver fillings can prevent further tooth damage, we prefer not to use them because they are much more noticeable than plastic or porcelain fillings. There is also the possibility of an allergic reaction to the materials.
Gold fillings are usually custom made in a lab and cemented into place on the surface of your tooth. While many dentists consider gold fillings to be the most efficient option, they are also the most expensive, require multiple appointments, and can cause discomfort when eating due to their tendency to conduct heat or cold from your food.
To learn more about dental fillings, please contact La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry and Orthodontics at (858) 295-0603.