A cavity or damage to the teeth due to plaque and tartar build-up is quite common. Despite most people knowing the importance of brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups, they have to deal with tooth damage because of busy schedules, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of oral care. Fortunately, your dentist can repair a cavity or damaged tooth using dental filling procedures.

What is a Dental Filling?

Dentists use a dental filling to repair teeth that have become worn, decayed, or damaged. They will use a hard substance for filling the holes caused by tooth damage. It is important to know that dental filling procedures cannot completely repair all tooth damage, however, are ideal for replacing the tooth structure damaged by tooth decay.

Types of Dental Filling Materials

Following are the five main types of dental filling material:

Silver Amalgam

These fillings are made from a mixture made up of 50% silver, tin, zinc, and copper, and 50% mercury. It is popular among dentists because of its strength, durability, and inexpensiveness.

The filling has a lifespan of 12 years or more. The dental filling material is also relatively easy for a dentist to fit into a cavity, along with having a lower risk of contamination from blood or saliva. However, it is not aesthetically pleasing, therefore, not makes a good choice for a prominent tooth. The material can also expand and contract over time, causing a cracked tooth. These variations can also cause gaps between the filling and the tooth, trapping food and bacteria and allowing new cavities to form.

Composite Resin

Made of a resin and plastic material that is soft when placed in the cavity, the dentist will harden it with a bright blue curing light. It is a popular choice because it can be color-matched to the shade of a person’s existing teeth — making it less noticeable than a silver amalgam filling.

On the other hand, these do not last as long as other types and are more expensive than silver. You may need a replacement every five to ten years.

Ceramic Fillings

Made from porcelain, this material is both long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. Compared to composite resin fillings, these are more expensive but are tooth-colored and more resistant to staining and abrasion.

The limitations to using ceramic are that it is more brittle, thus, requires a larger size to avoid breaking. This means that the area in the tooth must be made larger to accommodate the extra material. Ceramic restorations are commonly called inlays or onlays.


Expensive and uncommon, it is difficult to find a dentist who will offer gold as an option. Furthermore, it takes more than one visit to properly fit a gold filling. Gold, on the other hand, is durable, does not corrode, and can last for over 20 years.

Glass Ionomer

This glass plus acrylic material is ideal for children with teeth that are still growing. These produce fluoride, which helps to protect teeth from further decay. Significantly weaker than composite resin, these will only last a few years and are more likely to crack or wear out.

Moreover, traditional glass ionomer does not match the color of the teeth as precisely as composite resin.

Choosing the Best Material

Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist will inform you about what material will suit your particular dental situation as well as your budget. You can also consult the dentist if you have concerns about the harmful effects or possible allergic reactions of certain materials.

Dental Filling in Seattle

You can get an emergency dental filling at Sue Vetter’s dental clinic in Seattle. Book your appointment by visiting our office or calling us today.










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