What are Dental Fillings
A dental filling is a way to treat decay by drilling and cleaning out the tooth and replacing it with an appropriate dental material. In some cases, a filling can also repair a tooth without decay. In order for a dental filling to be placed there must be enough tooth integrity, and if a tooth is too compromised for a filling, more involved treatment planning may be necessary.
Types of Dental Fillings
Years ago the only solution to treat decay was to place a mercury amalgam filling, but now there are progressive materials which are making metal fillings obsolete in many dental practices. One of the largest disadvantages of amalgam fillings is they consist on an average of 50% mercury. Our clinics in Mexico have not used dental amalgam in over a dozen years, and they are virtually mercury free.
Composite fillings are the most widely used in our Mexico dental offices. They are a bonded material of acrylic with glass filler particles, and for color, some trace metals, zirconium, and titanium dioxide is added. After some tooth preparation, a composite is bonded to the tooth by hardening it with a curing light.
Advantages of Composite Fillings
- Conservative Placement; a minimal amount of enamel outside of the decay is removed in order to place a composite filling, versus, a much larger tooth preparation needed for a metal filling.
- Aesthetic; the color can be matched to one’s own natural tooth color.
- Bonding; the composite material bonds to the tooth as well as to pre-existing composite. Many times an old composite filling can be repaired by merely bonding more material to it without having to drill the tooth further.
- Tooth Repair; because the composite can be bonded to the tooth, in some cases, it can cover a cracked tooth, small chips, or worn teeth.
- Prevents Tooth breakage; when chewing, there is less force on your tooth with a composite filling because it is softer than the enamel, where as, a metal filling is harder than your own tooth and can eventually break it.
Disadvantages of Composite Fillings
- Lifetime; composite fillings may not last as long as its predecessor the amalgam.
- Durability; sometimes they can chip or stain.
- Cost; the composite fillings can cost more than mercury amalgam.
The benefits of composite fillings far outweigh metal fillings, and our Mexico offices can provide a major cost savings for them. In the US, composite fillings range anywhere from $120-$450, which is a huge variance, however, we offer the affordable price of $75 a filling, no matter the size. Sometimes, it is necessary to replace an old amalgam filling with composite filling, and for this, a mercury removal process must occur, in which, the affordable price for the entire treatment is a total of $150. To learn more about the mercury removal process visit our Mercury Amalgam Removal page.
Glass Ionomer fillings are comprised of glass particles called fluoroaluminosilicate, acrylic, and a setting agent. The most common use of this material is for dental cement. These fillings are not as strong as composite, however, there are occasions when our Mexico dental offices may use this as a filling material. They are commonly used for baby teeth for two good reasons; the glass ionomer release fluoride which prevents further decay in the filled tooth, and it is easy to place because it is not sensitive to a moist environment. They are also good for adult decay around the neck or gum-line of a tooth, where retention may be difficult for other dental materials. Glass ionomer fillings are much more affordable in our Mexico offices than here in the US, for $75 each.
It is important to know that the cheaper price for fillings in our Mexico dental offices does not mean that your dental care is compromised. Our dental standards are progressive with your care as a priority. We are proud to be a mercury free dental experience.