There are mainly two choices when it comes to fillings: amalgam and resin composite.
Dental composite resins are types of synthetic resins. Dental composite resins have certain properties that will benefit patients according to the patient's cavity. It has a micro-mechanical retention property that makes composite more effective for filling small cavities where amalgam fillings are not as effective and could therefore fall out (due to the macro-mechanical retention property of amalgam). Synthetic resins evolved as restorative materials since they were insoluble, of good tooth-like appearance, insensitive to dehydration, easy to manipulate and reasonably inexpensive.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam isn't just silver—it's a mixture of minerals that's 50 percent silver, tin, zinc, and copper, and 50 percent mercury.
This was the most widely known type of filling in the past, but not any longer because it has disadvantages. It's not aesthetically pleasing, so it isn't a good choice in a tooth that's highly visible. The material also can expand and contract over time, causing a tooth to crack. These fluctuations also can create spaces between the filling and the tooth that food and bacteria can become trapped in, allowing new cavities to form.
The mercury in silver amalgam is controversial, but according to the American Dental Academy and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, studies have shown that silver amalgam fillings are safe.
What to Expect After Getting a Filling
The numbness caused by your local anesthesia should wear off within a couple of hours. Until then, it's best to avoid drinking hot or cold liquids, and eating on the side of your mouth with the new filling. Some sensitivity to hot and cold is normal in the first couple of months after getting a tooth filled. If it persists beyond that, or you have any actual pain when biting, it could signal that an adjustment to your filling needs to be made. Continue to brush and floss as normal every day, and visit the dental office at least twice per year for your regular checkups and cleanings.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth -- to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
A crown can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.
Types of Dental Crowns and Their Advantages
Dental crowns are fixed prosthetic devices cemented directly onto existing teeth or implants. Crowns can also be used in dental bridges to fill a gap if you’re missing one or more teeth. Due to their many uses, it’s important to understand the different types of dental crowns available, and the advantages of each.
Zirconia Crown (no metal crown)
Zirconium is a relatively new material that combines the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain
crowns. High translucent zirconia and layered zirconia crowns have become a more popular choice
The main ADVANTAGES of zirconia crowns are:
They provide great aesthetics
They are strong and long-lasting (less possibilities of chipping or breaking).
Zirconia Crowns are less likely to wear down due to their strength.
They are biocompatible: as metal free crowns, they are not likely to cause allergic reactions.
Ceramic Dental Crowns (no metal crown)
Ceramic, porcelain-based dental crowns are most often used to restore front teeth. Due to their natural
color and texture, ceramic crowns are able to blend effortlessly with your remaining natural teeth, and
can be given a hint of color to match your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are not well suited for molars
and pre-molars, as ceramic can become brittle when exposed to heavy biting forces.
Porcelain-Fused to Metal Dental Crowns
Porcelain-fused to metal crowns provide patients with the best of both worlds. The porcelain part of the
crown provides the patient with a natural-looking tooth, and the metal structure is ultra-durable.
However, the metal in these crowns may cause a grey line over the gumline. This may not give the 100%
aesthetic look that all porcelain crowns provide. Junction between porcelain and metal is still the weakest
link that porcelain area may still be chipped away.
Gold Alloys Dental Crowns
Dental crowns constructed of gold alloys contain a combination of gold, copper, and various other metals.
Gold alloys provides a number of perks over other dental crown types. This type of crown is strong and
will not fracture. It will also not wear away the underlying tooth. Gold alloys are also biocompatible with
gum tissue. However, because of its non-tooth like look and higher gold cost, gold crowns are used less
Base Metal Alloys Dental Crowns
Base metal alloys dental crowns are resistant to corrosion and incredibly strong. They also contain non-
noble metals that are gentle against neighboring teeth. Only a minimum amount of tooth structure must
be removed before a dentist can apply this type of crown.
Left: Zirconia crown (no metal crown)
Right: PFM crown (porcelain fused to metal)
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a false tooth/teeth in between. This is one way to replace a missing tooth. The other options include implant and denture.
Materials for dental bridges are the same as those for regular dental crowns except ceramic. Ceramic crowns are too weak to withstand the biting forces over multiple teeth.