23 Oct Tooth-colored Composite Fillings to Replace Silver
Dentistry is an industry that constantly evolves. There are many aspects of the trade that have remained consistent over the centuries, while others have been replaced with more current technologies. Fillings remain a gray area.
Since the 1800’s, dentists have historically used various forms of metals to fill the holes in teeth created by decay. A metal filling is commonly referred to as an amalgam, or silver, filling. Calling this material “silver” is very misleading. Amalgam fillings have only a small amount of silver and they are actually made of a mixture of metals, containing a significant amount of mercury.
Within the last century, dentists have made technological advances and developed tooth-colored composite materials to fill cavities. With this advanced, far superior dental technology available, patients might wonder why amalgam fillings are still common practice in certain dental offices.
At Smileworks General and Cosmetic Dentistry, all of our fillings are completed using tooth-colored composite material. We utilize a range of shades in order to best match each patient’s teeth. The goal is to have our patients leave our office with their teeth appearing and functioning as good as new!
In addition to only using composite material for our fillings, we also recommend that our patients replace their existing amalgam fillings with composite. Those silver fillings in the back of your mouth are most likely older and, while fillings are supposed to last for a long time, they are not expected to last a lifetime.
As the years pass, your teeth and your existing fillings will be worn down by normal wear-and-tear. The tooth around the amalgam filling will slowly wear away and there comes a time when bacteria will eventually be able to penetrate beneath the filling and create a new area of decay. If repaired early on, there is a chance the tooth can be restored by removing the amalgam filling and the decay and a new composite filling can be placed. If this problem is left to fester, the damage becomes severe enough to warrant a composite buildup and a porcelain crown.
Besides the risk of losing a large portion of the tooth, amalgam fillings also pose a risk of toxicity to the body. The mercury content in those fillings is slight but it is present. The mere act of chewing will stimulate the release of mercury gas into the mouth and thus the body. Over an extended period of time, and with multiple silver fillings present, this compound can contribute to serious health issues down the road.
Metal fillings are cost-effective, durable, and long-lasting but they are not the safest option. The positive benefits of amalgam fillings do not outweigh the negative effects and it is important to keep this in mind. Composite fillings are worth the slight extra cost and effort in the long run.
Our expert restorative dentists at Smileworks are able to bring your teeth back to life by removing silver fillings and replacing them with aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored composite fillings.