When you needed a dental filling in the past, you may have had only one choice: silver amalgam fillings. Today, there are several filling choices, including composite fillings. Depending on your situation, your dentist could recommend that you get a filling after he or she removes your cavity, or your dentist could recommend that you have a crown placed.

Read below to learn more about your dental restoration options after a cavity.

Composite Fillings

A composite filling is a mixture of plastic and glass, and unlike a silver filling, it’s the same shade and color as your natural teeth. Below, we’ll tell you more about what composite fillings are, how they look, and how they can help your mouth.

Appearance

Silver and gold fillings are sturdy and durable, but their main drawback is their appearance. When you fill your back teeth with one of these two bright metals, it’s easy for others to see your fillings every time you smile.

In contrast, composite fillings look like natural teeth. In particular, if the filling will go in one of your front teeth that people see when you smile, your dentist will definitely recommend a composite filling.

Strength

When they were first created in the 1960s, composite fillings weren’t strong enough to withstand the force from back teeth. But technicians have improved the structure of composite fillings over the years, and today, dentists can place them anywhere in the mouth. You can expect your filling to last about 7 to 10 years.

Placement Process

Composite fillings don’t take very long to place. After your dentist removes any decay from the inside of your tooth, he or she will fill the resulting space with the composite filling and bond the material to your tooth.

In some cases, if you have a composite filling, dentists can fill the cavity using lasers or air abrasion rather than shots and drilling. These methods work only for composite fillings, not for other filling types.

Safety

Some people worry about the safety of silver amalgam fillings because they contain mercury, which can be toxic in large amounts. However, a silver amalgam filling contains less mercury than the water we drink and the air we breathe. Studies have shown that silver amalgam fillings do not cause health problems.

At the same time, it’s helpful to avoid mercury whenever possible. Plus, a very small percentage of people are allergic or hypersensitive to mercury. If this describes your situation, your dentist will definitely recommend a composite filling.

Like silver amalgam fillings, composite fillings are considered safe. They shouldn’t create any adverse health effects. If you have any concerns, your dentist will be happy to address them with you.

Different Types of Crowns

If you have a larger cavity, your dentist might recommend a crown, or a cap that goes over the top of your tooth and keeps bacteria out. To make a crown, your dentist takes an impression of your tooth so he or she can create a crown that perfectly fits your unique tooth.

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials:

Gold. Most people don’t use gold crowns anymore because they don’t look natural. However, gold is a very strong material and can last for years. If you only need a cap on one of your back molars, your dentist could talk to you about this option.

Ceramic. In contrast to gold, ceramic crowns blend in nicely with your teeth. They look natural and are similarly durable.

Metal alloys. These crowns are some of the strongest available. However, you can only have a metal alloy crown if your dentist didn’t need to remove very much of the tooth. They require a larger surface area to bond with.

Whether you need a composite filling or a crown, the professionals at Rose City Dental Care can help. We’ll assess your tooth, remove any decay, and recommend the perfect solution. If you have any questions about composite fillings or different types of crowns, just let us know.