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Dental Restoration

Dental Restoration Options

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 fillings can 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 restoration 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” filling, 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 filling; however tooth-colored materials are more natural looking. 
  • Gold dental 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 filling.

Dental Restoration

Fillings, Gold (Inlays)

Gold fillings, also called inlays or onlays, are composed of an alloy of gold, copper and other metals.

This type of dental filling is usually considered the most durable, lasting 20 years or more, but it is also the most costly. Gold fillings also require more than one office visit to place because they require impressions to manufacture at a dental laboratory.

Direct placement of gold is a restoration called a gold foil. These types of dental restorations are infrequently performed and are usually used for small fillings. Gold foils can be placed in one visit, just like an amalgam or composite filling.

Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:

  • brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • flossing daily
  • eating a balanced diet
  • visiting the dentist regularly.
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