dental filling options

What To Know About Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are the most common form of treatment for cavities. However, dental fillings can help treat other dental problems such as a cracked tooth, broken tooth, or worn out teeth. Most people will need a cavity filling at some point in their life. Although some may have more than others, dental cavities should not be left untreated.

Cavities are the most common dental problems dentist see in their patients. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research,

  • “92% of adults 20 to 64 have dental caries in their permanent teeth,”  and “26% of adults 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay.”
  • “42% of children 2 to 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth,” and “23% of children 2 to 11 have untreated dental caries.”

These high percentages of both adults and children having cavities is a concern, not to mention the percentage of adults and children who have untreated dental cavities. Tooth decay at a young age can be damaging to the health of their permanent teeth not just their baby teeth,  and for adults with untreated cavities can lead to extensive dental treatment and costs.

Some of the reasons we get tooth decay can vary from child and adult. You can get a cavity from

  • Sleeping with a baby bottle filled with milk or juice.
  • Poor oral hygiene (brushing and flossing).
  • Eating sweets and carbohydrates (all produce acid in the mouth).
  • Drinking beverages with sugar or are acidic.  

If you experience dental discomfort when eating, you might have a cavity. Seeing your dentist can help prevent further decay and treating the cavity as soon as possible. We mentioned dental filling is the standard form of treatment and still is. Find out how dental fillings can help treat your tooth and the filling options available to you.

What’s a Dental Filling?

A dental filling, also known as a dental restoration, is the process of restoring the function and modeling the structure of the damaged tooth.   

A dentist will remove the decay from the tooth then clean the affected area before filling the opening with a filling material. The dental filling will prevent bacteria from entering the opening which can cause further decay and infection.

Types of Fillings

There are various types of filling material you can use. Not every filling is for everyone. Depending on your dental case, allergies to materials, where the filling is located in the mouth, and costs of material affects what material is used and is best for your situation. Here are some of the filling options available to you, and you want to consider.

  • Gold Fillings – also known as inlays or onlays, are composed of an alloy of gold, copper, and other metals which made in a laboratory. They have been used for many years due to the tolerance of the gum tissues and durability of 15 or more years. However, it can be expensive and require more than one visit to the dentist.    
  • Amalgam Filling – commonly known as the “silver” filling, it is composed of many metals such as mercury, silver, tin, and copper. They are durable, last up to 15 years, and affordable. However, healthy parts of the tooth are removed to make way for the filling, and they are the most noticeable filling.
  • Composite Resins – are the fillings resembling the color of our natural teeth. They are composed of glass and quartz filler which bonds to the tooth structure providing more support. But it is more prone to chipping, tooth wear, and less durable than the other fillings usually lasting from 3 to 10 years. Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam.
  • Porcelain Fillings – also called ceramics, are made in a lab and then bonded in the tooth. They are stain resistant, last longer than 15 years, and cost as much as gold fillings.    

Depending on your dental condition, a dental filling is the first and common choice of treatment for tooth decay, chipped or broken tooth. If there is more damage to the tooth, then your dentist will recommend another form of treatment. Dental fillings can help prevent bacteria from entering the tooth causing more tooth decay and damage to the tooth.

Visiting the dentist regularly can help detect early signs of dental problems and treat them in before it can progress. If you haven’t seen your dentist for your annual check-up, call our offices now at 801-747-8000 or fill out our appointment form to make an appointment.    


National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research – research and statistics on dental caries

Mouth Healthy – Dental Filling Options


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