In the past, metal fillings were the go-to option when you had a cavity, making your smile unsightly. However, today, there are composite fillings, or tooth-colored fillings. If you are considering getting tooth-colored fillings, check out these four pros and cons.
Pro: They Look Like Your Natural Teeth
The main reason patients want tooth-colored fillings is they look like natural teeth. They are made from a composite resin that is white. It can be shaded to match the color of your tooth nearly perfectly. The resin does not have the same translucent appearance porcelain crowns and veneers have, but it blends in better with teeth. You can even have your old metal fillings replaced to drastically boost the appearance of your smile.
Pro: They Require Less Tissue to Be Removed
Composite resin is used for a lot of dental procedures including dental bonding. This is because the material sticks to teeth. Once it dries, it bonds with the tooth, which is how the filling stays in place. Metal fillings don't bond to teeth. To hold the metal filling, the dentist must create a shelf on which to place the filling. This requires more healthy tooth tissue to be removed to insert a larger filling than is actually necessary, and larger fillings can weaken teeth.
Con: They Are Less Durable Than Metal Fillings
Metal fillings are more durable than tooth-colored fillings, so they can handle a lot more wear and tear from chewing and grinding. With proper care, a silver or amalgam filling will last up to 15 years. Gold fillings are rarer because of the cost, but they can last up to 30 years. A composite resin filling, however, may only last between 5 and 10 years. However, metal fillings can cause damage to the surrounding healthy tooth tissue, and tooth-colored fillings do not.
Con: They Are More Expensive Than Metal Fillings
A silver filling can cost between $50 and $300, depending on the size and location of the cavity. Composite resin fillings cost a little more at $90 to $450, depending on the size and location. Your insurance likely covers some of the cost of both silver and composite resin fillings. They typically do not cover the cost of gold fillings.
If you have metal fillings, or you have a cavity and are unfamiliar with the types of fillings, you need to talk to your dentist about tooth-colored fillings vs. metal fillings. For more information, contact your family dentist today.