In most cases, having a tooth filled because of a cavity is not a big deal. While you should definitely practice good dental hygiene habits to try to avoid tooth decay, getting a small cavity or two over the course of your life is very common. In fact, very few people manage to go cavity-free. However, when the dentist does tell you a filling is necessary, talk with them about what type of filling will be used or if you can choose the type of material used. Here is a bit of information to help you understand which material you should ask to be used.
Some people are afraid of amalgam fillings because of the mercury they contain. This really should not be an issue as the amount used has never proven to cause any problems. However, amalgam fillings are not always the best option because they do not stay the same size, and they are not dimensions are not stable. Unfortunately, these fillings also tend to expand with time. Professionals, like those at Tijeras Dental Service, know that this means they may cause the tooth to crack. In addition, because of the color of these fillings, they are not cosmetically appealing. If you have a very small cavity way in the back of your mouth, or on the inside of a tooth, an amalgam filling may be used.
Composite resin can be matched to be the same color as your teeth. this makes it a good option for cavities in places that will be seen when you talk or smile. However, their dimensions are not stable either. Unlike amalgam, resin cavities tend to shrink over time. This not only means there is a higher chance of them falling out, they also allow space for new decay to grow. This is especially true because the filling makes it difficult to clean in the cavity. You will probably need to have these fillings replaced every so often.
Porcelain fillings are the best option. However, they are also the most expensive option and may not be covered by your insurance. These fillings are made by a machine or done by hand, and then put into the tooth. They will not shrink or expand and have a much longer life than the other options. If the cost is not an option, you can have a filling made in the office and inserted in one visit. Not all dentist offices have the capability of making porcelain fillings, so you may need to see a new dentist to have these made.
Talk to your dentist about which type of filling they feel will work best. Knowing the above information allows you to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each type so you can make an informed decision.