When you have been treated for tooth decay or fracture, a dental filling is used to repair the damaged area and provide natural function back to the tooth. Dental fillings are biocompatible material created from a wide variety of restorative materials that are scientifically tested and approved for use in restoring function back to treated teeth. Each filling type is an effective solution and the deciding factor is up to you, our patient, as to which filling you will choose. We want you to be informed about all aspects of each filling option and will help you make an educated decision to reach your smile goals.
Composite fillings are tooth-colored fillings that are an option to restore areas of tooth decay or fracture. We always use composite fillings in Shawnee, OK, when filling areas that show when you smile. This keeps your smile’s appearance seamless and others won’t even know you had a filling. Composite fillings are a mixture of plastic materials which can be created to look like a natural tooth and match your tooth color. When performing composite filling treatments, the filling is placed and cured with a light to become hard. The composite filling material wears more quickly and is more susceptible to leakage and recurrent decay as compared to other options. This option also has a higher bond strength than amalgam fillings and is slightly more expensive. Typically, composite fillings will last 5-10 years before needing to be replaced.
Amalgam fillings are a mixture of different metals and have been used for over 100 years to safely and effectively treat decayed or fractured teeth. They are the longest lasting and most functional filling material, as well as being one of the cheapest. Amalgam fillings are an excellent choice for filling decayed areas in the back of the mouth as these areas are not as apparent when you smile. These amalgam fillings can be expected to last you 15-20 years.
Alternative options to amalgam and composite fillings in Shawnee, OK, include inlays and onlays, gold and porcelain. While also effective, these options are not as common for extensive repair or for those seeking a more subtle appearance. Inlays and onlays are a more conservative solution than a full coverage crown to repair damage as they just cover select areas of the tooth. These typically take two appointments for fabrication by our dental lab and then are bonded to your teeth. Gold fillings are a highly functional and durable material we use, but many patients do not want the obvious gold appearance or the high cost of the material. Porcelain fillings have the best aesthetic properties, looking virtually identical to your natural teeth and often last longer than composite fillings, but many times require large fillings or tooth damage.