Amalgam tooth filling material has received a lot of negative criticism backed by what most consider credible research on the health risks associated with the use of the mercury comprised tooth filling material. These concerns have led to the manufacturing of a new material called composite resin. Composite resin comes in various shades of white so that it can be matched to a patient’s existing teeth shade. If a composite tooth filling is done well by an experienced and highly skilled dentist or oral health therapist, it’s almost impossible to see where the tooth filling ends and the natural tooth structure begins. Although composite resin tooth fillings are now considered to be the preferred choice for a tooth restoration by both patients and dentists, amalgam is still widely used and respected by the dental profession for its long-lasting working life in situations that require a stronger and more hardwearing solution, or in areas which are difficult to access and keep dry during placement of the tooth filling material.
We are fortunate that amalgam and composite resin tooth filling materials have been developed as a cost-effective solution to restoring the tooth back to its original function after tooth rot (dental decay) or trauma has occurred, however, there are also stronger and longer-lasting solutions to tooth fillings nowadays such as inlays and crowns. These harder wearing and more cosmetically enhanced tooth filling options can be offered in gold, zirconia, and porcelain material.
Choosing to have an inlay or crown will mean slightly longer appointment times and most likely two appointments to complete the entire process if an off-site lab technician is tasked with making your inlay or crown. These high-tech tooth filling solutions need to be designed and made using specialized machines by trained dental professionals or lab technicians who are experts at crafting a custom tooth-shaped cap that will be cemented onto the tooth. You can expect an inlay or crown made from these hard-wearing tooth filling materials to last far longer than a composite resin tooth filling, so long as regular oral hygiene care is maintained. The downside to a dental crown or inlay besides needing a bit longer in the dental chair is the cost. An inlay or dental crown will vary depending on the size of the tooth restoration needed and the material you go with. As a rough estimate, the cost for a lab-made dental crown is between $500 – $2000.
As mentioned, the complexity and size of a tooth filling will vary greatly depending on the damage caused. This will also impact on the overall tooth filling cost, and the time the dentist needs to perform the tooth filling procedure. Seeking advice and consultation from a trusted dentist who comes highly recommended as an expert at providing tooth filling services in your area is key to salvaging your damaged or diseased tooth long term.