Gold Fillings

Shaping a Gold-Standard Smile

Did you know gold fillings were common before amalgam fillings? You better believe it; it was once common. However, nowadays, it’s uncommon to see gold or amber fillings due to the latest option: tooth-colored fillings.

To learn more about the types of dental fillings offered at Al Villalobos, DMD, PA, contact our Jupiter dentist today by calling (561) 744-0677.

What Are Gold Fillings?

Gold fillings, also known as gold inlays or onlays, are a type of dental restoration used to repair teeth damaged by tooth decay, trauma, or heavy biting forces. They’re made from a gold alloy, which is a mixture of pure gold and other metals like silver, copper, and platinum. This combination creates a strong, corrosion-resistant, and biocompatible filling material that has been used in dentistry for centuries.

older man smiling

Benefits of Gold Fillings

Several benefits can be enjoyed due to gold fillings, including:

  • Durability: Gold fillings can withstand the rigors of chewing and biting forces for many decades, often outlasting other filling materials.
  • Biocompatibility: Gold is well-tolerated by the human body and less likely to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities compared to other filling materials like silver amalgam.
  • Longevity: With proper care and maintenance, gold fillings can last for 15 to 30 years or even longer, resulting in fewer replacements and potential cost savings over time.
  • Less Tooth Sensitivity: Gold fillings are less likely to cause tooth sensitivity than materials like silver amalgam. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who have sensitive teeth or are concerned about post-treatment discomfort.
  • Precision Fit: Gold fillings are custom-made to fit the specific contours of the prepared tooth, ensuring a tight seal that minimizes the risk of further tooth decay or damage.
  • Minimal Shrinkage: Unlike other filling materials, gold fillings have minimal shrinkage, maintaining the integrity of the restoration and reducing the risk of gaps or microleakage.
  • Strength: Gold is a strong and resilient material, making it an excellent choice for restorations in posterior teeth (molars and premolars) that endure significant biting forces.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Gold doesn’t corrode or tarnish, ensuring that the filling maintains its integrity and won’t deteriorate over time.

Disadvantages of Gold Fillings

While gold fillings offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Aesthetic Concerns: The distinctive gold color of these fillings can be highly visible, making them less suitable for front teeth or individuals who prioritize a natural-looking smile.
  • Cost: Gold fillings are typically more expensive than other filling materials due to the cost of gold as a precious metal.
  • Multiple Appointments: Getting a gold filling often requires multiple dental visits for tooth preparation, impression taking, fabrication, and final placement.
  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to gold or the metals used in gold alloys. Allergic reactions can lead to discomfort, inflammation, or other adverse effects.
  • Tooth Removal: More tooth structure may need to be removed to accommodate a gold filling compared to other filling materials, potentially weakening the tooth.
  • Aesthetic Mismatch: If a patient has existing gold fillings and requires additional dental work, it may be challenging to match the color and appearance of the new fillings to the existing ones, resulting in a visually inconsistent smile.
  • Visible Margins: In some cases, the margin of a gold filling may become visible over time as the gum line recedes or the filling wears down. This can affect the appearance of the restoration.

dentist smiling at their office

Gold Fillings Process

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

Your dentist will assess the extent of tooth damage and determine if a gold filling is the best option. If so, your custom treatment plan will be created.

Tooth Preparation

The dentist will numb the area around the tooth using a local anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable during the procedure. The damaged or decayed portion of the tooth is removed using dental instruments, leaving behind a clean and prepared cavity. They’ll shape the cavity to allow for the proper placement of the gold filling.

Impression Taking

An impression of the prepared tooth is taken to create a custom-fitted gold filling.

Filling Fabrication

The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where skilled technicians fabricate the gold filling to match the specific contours and dimensions of the prepared tooth.

Fitting and Cementing

Once the gold filling is ready, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for placement. The dentist will ensure that the gold filling fits perfectly into the prepared cavity. They’ll apply dental cement to the interior of the cavity and the filling. Then, the filling is carefully placed into the cavity and cemented securely in place.

Polishing and Final Adjustments

After the gold filling is cemented, any excess cement is removed. Your dentist will check your bite to ensure that it feels natural and comfortable. The filling is polished to ensure a smooth surface and a comfortable bite. Then, any final adjustments are made as needed to ensure proper alignment and function.

Gold Filling Costs

Gold fillings range from $250 to $2,000 or more without insurance coverage. The price is influenced by the market value of gold, the size of the filling, and the location of the damaged tooth. While more expensive than other filling materials, gold fillings can be a worthwhile investment due to their durability and longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are gold fillings safe?
Can I get a gold filling for a front tooth?
Is it possible to remove a gold filling?
Why don’t dentists use gold fillings anymore?
Are gold fillings safe?

Yes, gold fillings are considered safe and have been used for many decades without significant issues.

Can I get a gold filling for a front tooth?

While possible, the aesthetic concerns of a gold filling on a front tooth may lead to other options being preferred.

Is it possible to remove a gold filling?

Yes, it’s possible to remove a gold filling, but it may require replacement with another restoration option.

Why don’t dentists use gold fillings anymore?

While still used in some cases, gold fillings have become less common due to the availability of more affordable and aesthetically pleasing options like composite (white) fillings. However, gold fillings remain a viable option for certain dental restorations, particularly in posterior teeth.

Restore Your Oral Health at Al Villalobos, DMD, PA

Do you need a cavity filled? Contact Al Villalobos, DMD, PA today to schedule your appointment! Dr. Al Villalobos and our Jupiter dental team will evaluate your oral health and recommend the best treatment for you. Call us today at (561) 744-0677.

Conveniently located near West Palm Beach’s Northside areas, including Hobe Sound, Tequesta, and more, our practice offers accessible general dentistry services.