Services Offered
Types of Fillings
Cast Gold Fillings

Advantages of cast gold fillings:

    Durability - lasts at least 10 to 15 years, usually longer; doesn't corrode
    Strength - can withstand chewing forces
    Aesthetics - some patients find gold more pleasing to the eye than silver, amalgam fillings

Disadvantages of cast gold fillings:

    Expense - gold cast fillings are more than other materials; up to 10 times higher than cost of amalgam
    Additional office visits - requires at least two office visits to place
    Galvanic shock - a gold filling placed immediately next to a silver, amalgam filling can cause a sharp pain
          (galvanic shock) to occur. The interaction between the metals and saliva causes an electric current to
          occur - it's a rare occurrence, however
    Aesthetics - most patients don't like any "colored" fillings

Silver Fillings (Amalgams)

Advantages of silver fillings:

    Durability - silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and usually outlasts composite fillings
    Strength - can withstand chewing forces
    Expense - is less expensive than composite fillings

Disadvantages of silver fillings:

    Poor aesthetics - silver fillings don't match the color of your natural teeth
    Destruction of more tooth structure - healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space
          large enough to hold the amalgam filling
    Discoloration - amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure
    Cracks and fractures - although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids,
          which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack orfracture, amalgam material - in comparison with
          other filling materials - may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a
          higher incidence of cracks and fractures
    Allergic reactions - a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present
          in amalgam restorations

Tooth-colored Composites

Advantages of composites:

    Aesthetics - the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth;
          is particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth
    Bonding to tooth structure - composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further
          support to the tooth
    Versatility in uses - in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to
          repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth
    Tooth-sparing preparation - sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgams
          when removing decay and preparing for the filling

Disadvantages of composites:

    Lack of durability - composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgams (lasting at least 5 years compared
          with at least 10 to 15 for amalgams); in addition, they may not last as long as amalgams under the
          pressure of chewing and particularly if used as the filling material for large cavities
    Increased chair time - because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings can take up to
          20 minutes longer than amalgams to place
    Additional visits - if composites are used for inlays or onlays, more than one office visit may be required
    Chipping - depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth
    Expense - composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgams

In addition to tooth-colored, composite resin fillings, two other tooth-colored fillings exist - ceramics and glass ionomer.

Other Filling Types

    Ceramics. These fillings are made most often of porcelain, are more resistant to staining than composite resin material but are also more abrasive. This material generally lasts more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.

    Glass ionomer is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This material is most commonly used for fillings below the gum line and for fillings in young children (drilling is still required). Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay. However, this material is weaker than composite resin and is more susceptible to wear and prone to fracture. Glass ionomer generally lasts 5 years or less with costs comparable to composite resin.

Smile Shine Dental dentists will discuss the possibilities decide with you which is the best choice for your circumstances.

Compare the benefits and advantages of the different types of fillings below.

Dr. Jas Grewal, DDS
(209) 895-5440
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