Most people are familiar with the term “dental filling,” as it is the treatment of choice when a cavity needs to be repaired. When decay (or a cavity) has caused an area of damage in a tooth, a dental filling is what dentists use to restore the tooth back to its original structure and integrity. A filling procedure may require anesthetics but it is a relatively quick and painless process. While fillings have been used to repair tooth decay for many decades, the material used in fillings has changed and advanced for the better.
Dental fillings serve an overall purpose of restoring minor damage within a tooth, but not all fillings are equal. The most common materials used for fillings include amalgam, gold, composite, and porcelain. It is important to ask your dentist which filling materials are offered and determine which one you prefer inside your mouth.
The Drawbacks of Silver Fillings
Amalgam fillings (also called silver or metal fillings) contain materials like mercury, chromium, beryllium or nickel. Unfortunately, these components can cause side effects or even allergic reactions for certain people. While amalgam is less expensive and highly durable, it also has a dark color that is highly visible within your smile. Therefore, it is not best to use a silver filling on any of your front teeth. Leakage and cracking are also potential concerns when living with a silver filling.
A More Popular Filling Material
Composite fillings have quickly become the preferred standard in terms of dental fillings. One of the reasons that they retain their popularity is that composite resin fillings do not pose a threat to aesthetics. They can be made to match your tooth enamel in exact shade. This means that composite material fillings can be used on any tooth within your smile, and they can even correct cracks and chips as well as decay. Tooth-colored fillings don’t contain any mercury or metal components, and they require less removal of healthy tooth structure when they are placed. You can expect a composite filling to last anywhere from 3 to 10 years with proper care.
Fillings are Softer and Demand Care
While dental filling material has drastically improved over the past several years, fillings are still not as strong as your natural enamel. To keep your fillings intact and maximize your investment, don’t chew on hard things like ice, nuts or candy. If you experience pain around your filling, always consult your dentist right away.
Does a tooth-colored filling sound more appealing than a flashy silver filling? Let us repair your tooth with materials that are both proven and preferred. Contact us now to learn more about the benefits of composite resin fillings.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,