Cavity Fillings: Types, Costs and Potential Risks

Cavities or dental caries are decayed areas of a tooth. The decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth, snacking on sugary foods, and poor oral hygiene.

This is permanent damage and can’t be undone. The only way dental caries can be managed is through removing the decayed portion of the tooth, and filling in the area. In very extreme cases, your dental care provider may suggest a root canal, or complete extraction of the tooth.

Types of cavity fillings:

There are 3 main types of cavity fillings:
  • Amalgam fillings,
  • Composite fillings and
  • Glass ionomer.
Below we will discuss what each entails, and consider their costs and potential risks.

Amalgam Fillings

These are the most common kind of fillings since they are made of strong metals; ideal for filling cavities in back teeth. Amalgam is extremely durable and withstands the pressure and wear over time.

It’s one of the most inexpensive filing materials since it’s more readily available. In the past, some people have been concerned about metal poisoning caused by these fillings. However, research conducted by FDA in 2009 concluded that amalgam is safe for children and adults alike.

Composite Fillings

These have become more popular than amalgam fillings recently since they can be made to match the color of your tooth. This makes it your teeth look more natural, which isn’t something that amalgam fillings can achieve. Composite fillings are comprised of materials like glass or quartz, making them fairly durable.

Prices can range from $130–250, which is approximately $40 more than the average amalgam filling. A major risk that comes from having these fillings is that it may result in shrinkage. The composite material needs to be cured under a UV light before it can harden; sometimes this curing might cause the material to shrink. Gaps between the material and tooth result in plaque build-up and sensitivity.

Glass Ionomer

The materials for these fillings mainly consist of acrylic and specific glass materials. One of the best features of these fillings is that they release fluoride—a substance that helps prevents tooth decay.
They are mid-range fillings. While they don’t have any health risks, it’s crucial to note that they aren’t very durable and need to be replaced every 5 years.

If you’re seeking dental care in Germantown, MD, we invite you to visit Advanced Dental Center. We specialize in preventative dentistry and also provide services such as root canals, and denture care.

To book an appointment, call us at (301) 353-8890. You can also fill out our patient history forms and bring them to your first appointment.