Has your kid complained about regular tooth pain or sensitivity when eating hot, cold, or sugary items? Chances are that they have tooth decay or cavities. Generally, children are more susceptible to decay and cavities due to regular snacking on sugary and acidic foods and beverages and insufficient dental hygiene.
Fortunately, your child’s dentist can clean out the damaged parts of their tooth and fill the areas with filling material, alleviating any discomfort and giving your kid a reason to smile and enjoy their favorite foods. Fillings also improve the strength and structure of the tooth and prevent further damage, which can lead to tooth loss. This article highlights the different types of dental fillings used in dental restorations.
Generally, there are four main types of tooth fillings, each with its own properties, pros, and cons. The right material for your child may depend on factors like the severity of the tooth damage, the affected tooth, your budget, your child’s dental needs, and much more.
Once you visit our dentist in 92014, they will examine your child’s teeth to determine whether they need a filling. If not, the dentist will recommend a suitable procedure to improve your child’s bite, appearance, and comfort.
Common types of fillings used for kids’ tooth restoration include:
Amalgam fillings are mercury fillings or silver fillings. They contain a combination of metals like copper, tin, silver, and mercury. Mercury helps bind the alloy, accounting for about 50% of the filling.
Thanks to the strength of metal, amalgam fillings are popular for their strength and durability and can last for more than 15 years. They are also less pricey than other options, making them a common choice for people on a budget.
On the downside, the mercury component in amalgam fillings has raised concerns about their health and safety. Some studies show that mercury fillings increase the risk of health problems like headaches, insomnia, tremors, nerve damage, respiratory failure, and kidney problems.
Another major drawback of amalgam fillings is their poor aesthetics, making them less ideal for front tooth restoration or people with high aesthetic needs. The material also tends to respond to temperature changes which can cause tooth damage.
Ceramic fillings contain porcelain material. They are commonly used to treat large cavities or tooth damage. Thanks to their natural-tooth color, porcelain fillings blend naturally with the rest of your teeth, making them aesthetically appealing.
Ceramic fillings are very strong and durable and can last over 15 years. They are also more resistant to abrasion and stains than composite fillings.
The major drawback of ceramic fillings is that they’re relatively more expensive than composite and amalgam fillings. Additionally, ceramic fillings are very brittle and thus more prone to cracking. Thus, they’re often used on large cavities. They also require multiple dental appointments to complete.
Composite fillings are sometimes referred to as tooth-colored fillings. Composite fillings are made from a combination of glass and plastic materials and are bonded directly to the tooth. Thanks to their natural-looking color, composite fillings are designed to blend naturally with your natural teeth. It makes them a perfect choice for front tooth restoration.
On the downside, composite fillings are less strong and durable than other fillings. They can last for about 5 to 10 years on average before requiring a replacement. Similarly, composite fillings are more prone to staining than porcelain fillings and can get stained or full over time. They are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
Lastly, we have gold fillings. They contain gold and an alloy of other metals. Thus, they possess excellent strength and durability. With proper dental hygiene and care, gold fillings can last over 20 years. They can withstand the strong forces of chewing and grinding foods, making them excellent for back tooth restorations.
The color of the gold fillings can be an upside or downside, based on the individual. One major downside is that gold fillings are more expensive than other fillings. Similarly, it requires significant tooth changes and multiple appointments.
If your child’s tooth is cracked or decayed, they may need a dental filling. Contact Sunny Smiles Kids Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics to discuss your options with our dentist near you.