Tooth Restorations

When it comes to creating tooth restorations, you have different choices available as for as the materials. The next time you need a crown, filling, or bridge, consider the following information so you can make the best choice for your oral and overall health.

Types of Materials Used for Dental Restorations

Many different types of metals are used in dentistry. Most of these are considered to be harmless, although some have been criticized for exposing patients to potential toxins or allergens. Plastic and ceramic are other commonly used materials for restorations, and these have not been shown to have any adverse biologic responses.


In the past, silver amalgam fillings were used to restore teeth that developed decay. Amalgam is an alloy that contains silver, tin, copper, and zinc as well as about 50 percent mercury. Amalgam fillings were effective although their dull gray color made them rather unsightly.

There are many critics of amalgam fillings because of the presence of mercury, although the American Dental Association, among other groups, still attest to their safety. A small number of people reported allergic reactions to silver amalgam fillings.

When you get a filling next, you can choose from the following restoration materials:

  • Silver amalgam. This type of filling is cost-effective and the average longevity is 15 years. They work best in small or medium restorations in the back of the mouth.
  • Gold inlays and onlays. These are gold in color and last around 20 years. Patients who choose this option can expect to pay more.
  • Resin composite (plastic). Tooth-colored fillings are moderately priced and offer a much more esthetic look for fillings. These are appropriate for small or medium restorations, and they last on average for 10 or 15 years.
  • Resin (plastic). These tooth-colored fillings cost a bit more initially and work best in medium-sized restorations.
  • Ceramic indirect. With an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, these tooth-colored restorations are best for moderate-sized restorations anywhere in the mouth.

Crowns or Fixed Prosthesis (Dental Bridges)

Gold alloys have been used for many years to create crowns or fixed bridges. These provide strong restorations that are also long-lasting. The three major types of alloys available include:

  • High noble metal consisting of mostly gold as well as palladium, silver, and sometimes platinum, zinc or copper
  • Noble metal consisting of palladium as well as silver and gold
  • Base metal, which is mostly nickel with some chrome or cobalt and other base metals.

These metals are used for the entire crown or as a base on which porcelain is fired. Although most people have no biologic response to these metals, if you have an allergy, please let us know.

Our Orlando dental clinic usually uses noble or high-noble metals.

If you need a bridge, you can choose from:

  • Metal (high-noble, noble, or base metal). Gold or silver in color, these restorations can last a lifetime. Your dentist uses them where a bit of metal can be showing. The initial cost is moderate to high.
  • Porcelain fused to metal restorations are tooth-colored and have a moderate-to-high initial cost. They are best for areas of the mouth that do not experience stress or grinding. You can expect these restorations to last between 10 and 20 years.
  • Ceramic nonmetal containing crowns are only appropriate for bridges under three units. These will generally last between 10 and 20 years and are best used where extreme stress or grinding is not present.

Contact our dental office directly if you have questions about the materials used for your tooth restorations. Dr. Akkara and his team will make sure you have the information you need to make the best choice for your oral health!