Glass ionomer filling, like composite filling is another filling material that is tooth-colored. Although not as strong as composite as a white filling, glass ionomer filling does have some uses:
- For filling decay, dental erosion or other tooth-wear cavities around the gum area.
- As a strong temporary filling. Glass ionomer can be placed on a cavity as a temporary filling before a permanent filling is placed. It is often used in emergency situations and as a temporary filling in between root canal appointments.
- As a filling in areas that aren’t exposed to chewing forces. It is strong enough to last where you will not be biting down on it.
- In patients with a lot of decay (as the material releases fluoride).
- For filling baby teeth, glass ionomer is an excellent choice.
Glass Ionomer Filling: Advantages
- Glass ionomer is tooth colored, so it is relatively discrete. However it generally is not as good a choice aesthetically as composite filling is.
- Glass ionomer fillings slowly release fluoride into the tooth. This can strengthen the tooth against further tooth decay, and is very useful where decay is a problem.
- Like composite materials, they chemically adhere (stick) to teeth.
- The material is relatively easy and quicker to place compared to composite. It is therefore ideal as a temporary and emergency filling material.
- Newer materials than are stronger and generally improved are being constantly developed.
- Glass ionomer is not as strong and durable as composite filling material is. It is therefore not as long-lasting in most situations. It is not suitable as a long-term filling material on the biting surfaces of teeth.
- As mentioned above, it generally does not give as good a result cosmetically as composite.
- It has to be carefully placed to make sure no moisture (saliva) gets into the filling before it sets.
- Older types of glass ionomer can take some time to fully set.