One of the treatments used to replace portions of the tooth structure that has been destroyed by tooth decay and to prevent the decay from progressing is called a dental filling. While silver fillings have been commonly used in the past, there have been significant advances in dentistry with the creation of new dental materials and the techniques for applying them that make silver fillings obsolete.
Silver Filling Replacement
If you are experiencing any discomfort with silver fillings that you have received in the past, you can have them replaced with more advanced dental restorations. The alternatives to silver fillings will last longer and can provide you with a more natural-looking smile. The type of fillings your dentist may recommend for your particular situation will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- Where in your mouth the filling will have to be placed
- The degree of damage that has to be repaired
- How much you are willing to pay
Amalgam tooth fillings are composed of almost 50 percent mercury and various amounts of zinc, copper and tin. These types of fillings are durable, wear-resistant and are typically used to repair back teeth as they can hold up to the force of constant chewing. They will last you for at least ten years and are one of the least expensive types of tooth filling materials on the market. Because they are non-bonded fillings, they will not bond with your teeth and may require the removal of more of a tooth to make a cavity secure enough for filling to remain in place. However, amalgam fillings can be completed in a single dental visit.
Composite resin tooth fillings are composed of a combination of plastics and finely crushed glass particles that are designed to appear tooth-colored. They are ideal for both small and large fillings for parts of the teeth that are routinely visible, such as the front teeth. They are also used for inlays and can last for at least five years. While they can cost more than amalgam fillings due to the time and effort it takes to place them, composite resin fillings will not require as much tooth drilling for preparation as they can bond directly with your teeth’s surface. They can also be mixed with other types of fillings in order to gain the benefits of both materials. Composite resins can be completed in one visit by being applied directly into the cavity and hardened by a bright blue light, or the dentist may opt to make a tooth impression, which will be used to make a filling that will be installed on a second visit.
Q&A with Dr. Grant
We sat down with Dr. Grant to learn a little bit more about Amalgam fillings and how they may be affecting your teeth.
What are the Common Complaints Your Patients Give About Amalgam Fillings? Common complaints with Amalgam fillings are, of course, they are unsightly and unattractive. We also hear a lot of people have a metallic or bad taste in their mouth. Lastly, the teeth are extremely temperature sensitive.
What are Signs You Should Have Yours Replaced? The above complaints are all signals that it is time to replace these Amalgam fillings with newer and more aesthetic composite fillings. You see, the metal, over time, expands and contracts with temperature changes, pulling away from the tooth allowing bacteria to enter and weakening your natural tooth structure. If the bad taste and sensitivity is ignored, then it is very possible that the Amalgam fillings will cause the tooth itself to fracture. The best-case scenario is if you have Amalgam filling over five years old, then it is time to replace them with composite fillings, which actually help preserve your natural tooth structure. Amalgam fillings served their purpose 20-40 years ago, but as we move into better technology, it is time to replace them with safer, more aesthetic technology.
At Dental Care of Frisco, you can find out what type of fillings may be appropriate for your tooth decay situation. Repair and restore your crowns and fillings by scheduling an appointment today!