A filling is the name of a dental procedure in which a material such as silver amalgam or a composite (white) filling is used to treat a decayed tooth. This material is inserted into the tooth where it then prevents the further spread of decay or repairs any damage.
This treatment stops the decay from spreading into the root where it will cause a serious infection, e.g. an abscess. This also removes the need for a tooth extraction.
The silver amalgam filling is the traditional type of filling which is composed of various metals such as copper, tin and mercury. This combination helps to retain the normal function of the tooth.
The composite white filling is a synthetic combination of acrylic resin and glass which has a white colour thereby enabling it to match the colour of the tooth. This is also chosen for aesthetic reasons as many people prefer to have fillings which match the rest of their teeth rather than the distinctive silver filling.
The main advantage of silver amalgam fillings is their durability. These fillings can last for more than 10 years or more compared to other types of fillings.
Composite white fillings have a natural colour which is similar to the colour of your natural teeth and so blends it well with them. Plus there have been issues raised about the safety of silver amalgam fillings due to their mercury content which has prompted some people to switch to composite fillings instead.
In regard to inlays and onlays: these fillings are less extensive than a normal filling, are easy to care for and long lasting.
Silver amalgam fillings have attracted some negative press commentary which is related to their use of mercury. There have been reports of people developing a health problem which is linked to mercury poisoning although the risk is considered very small.
The alternative is to choose a composite white filling or inlays and onlays.
Composite white fillings come with a range of benefits but they have their disadvantages as well.
We will begin by completely removing any tooth decay. If tooth decay has progressed beneath the enamel layer of the tooth, some numbing may be required. Your tooth will be cleaned, and a primer will be applied to the area being restored, to open pores in the enamel and dentin. A bonding agent is then applied and cured so that it can adhere to the cosmetic filling material.
The cosmetic filling material is then placed inside the tooth and shaped to resemble your natural tooth. Then it is hardened using a strong curing light. Once the white filling hardens, your dentist will check your bite to make sure your teeth fit together properly, as well as make any adjustments necessary to ensure a perfect fit. We will then smooth and polish your new filling to give it a clean, white look that matches your natural teeth.
Everyone deserves a great smile. For some people, that means a smile free of unattractive silver dental fillings. At Advanced Dental & Medical Care, our cosmetic dental professionals are specially trained in cosmetic dental fillings. Not only can we treat tooth decay, but we can also make your smile brighter in the process.
If properly cared for, your cosmetic fillings can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years! Below are general tips to get the maximum life out of your cosmetic fillings. Our dentist will recommend additional guidelines during your office visits.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride
- Brush and floss twice daily
- Avoid foods and drinks of extreme hot or cold temperatures
- Avoid grinding teeth or eating hard foods as this can cause fillings to crack
- Consult our dentist if you are experiencing sharp pains or prolonged sensitivity
- Visit our office regularly for dental check-ups and follow-up care for your cosmetic fillings