Dental fillings are used to restore teeth that have been broken by tooth decay. The development of tooth-colored fillings has provided dentist and patients with a safer and more attractive alternative to silver amalgam fillings.
By exactly matching tooth-colored composite fillings with the natural color of your teeth, a skilled cosmetic dentist is able to provide you with white fillings that are virtually invisible. The abstraction of old amalgam fillings can provide patients with white fillings that provide a more attractive, silver-free smile.
Types of Dental Fillings
- Dental amalgam: Amalgam, also known as silver fillings, is the least costly type of filling.
- Tooth-colored composite resin: Composite resin fillings are more attractive to the eye but are more expensive than dental amalgam fillings.
- Glass ionomers: This type of filling is mostly used in fillings below the gum line and in small children; the cost is comparable to composite resin.
- Gold fillings: These fillings are well allowed by sensitive patients and are unaffected to corrosion, tarnishing, and wear and tear but are among the most expensive filling materials.
- Ceramic or porcelain: Ceramic and porcelain fillings most closely mimic natural tooth color and can be as expensive as gold fillings.
Know about composite and silver dental fillings, including the benefits and side effects associated with each material, before you decide to have your smile reinstated with this cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Composite Dental Fillings
Composite fillings, also known as white or tooth-colored fillings, have replaced the need for silver amalgam material when filling in areas of teeth that have been affected by tooth decay and cavities. The majority of people are now selecting to have old silver fillings replaced and new cavities filled with composite solutions despite the fact that tooth colored fillings are more expensive than silver fillings.
Composite Fillings Benefits
Composite fillings offer a number of benefits over silver amalgam fillings, which contain mercury and are measured by many to be toxic.
- White fillings improve the health of teeth with merging with tooth margins as compared to the appearance of dark fillings.
- There is less post-treatment sensitivity pain related with use of composite materials versus silver fillings.
Composite Fillings Risks and Side Effects
There is no known health risks associated with use of composite fillings. However, some patients do experience mild discomfort in the days following the procedure. Patients can expect to feel some pain and sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, especially in the first week or two after treatment.
In the past, use of metal fillings to treat cavities was very common. Since composite, or tooth-colored fillings, were advanced and made available to consumers in the 1990s, dentists and patients have come to prefer composite filler materials over silver amalgam fillers for a range of reasons. However, some patients find that silver fillings are sufficient and dentists do still use this material to treat teeth damaged by decay.
Metal Fillings Benefits
One of the main reasons patients favor silver amalgam fillings to composite solutions is because of the cost. Silver fillings generally cost less per filling, while composite fillings generally cost little higher per filling. The cost varies based on the extent of impairment to the tooth. Other benefits of amalgam fillings include:
- The technique is shorter than the composite treatment.
- The silver filling treatment requires less skill and expertise than the composite technique.
- Silver fillings have been used for decades, and many patients are more comfortable with the materials long-term safety record.
Metal Fillings Risks and Side Effects
Although silver fillings are effective in treating cavities, they are associated with some health risks and side effects.
- Although metal fillings have been shown to be safe in patients, many believe that use of mercury in the amalgam material may lead to future health complications.
- The metal material can expand and contract over time, and could potentially cause damage to the structure of the tooth.
- The dentist must have to remove more of the tooth structure than is required when composite material is used to fill in the cavity.
- Teeth may be more sensitive to hot and cold foods in the weeks following treatment.
Dental Fillings Candidacy
- Good candidates for the dental fillings procedure include patients that have mild to moderate tooth decay. Patients with a seriously infected tooth may need a root canal and dental crown in order to restore the tooth back to health.
- Many patients choose to have their old silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored composite fillings to improve the appearance of their smiles.
Diagnosis of Cavities
- During your dental service, a technician will take X-rays of your mouth; then the dentist will examine your X-rays, as well as your teeth, gums, and surrounding bone to diagnose any problems. If the dentist finds any evidence of tooth decay or cavity, he or she will endorse the proper course of treatment. If the patient only has mild to moderate tooth decay, a dental filling can be used to restore the tooth back to health.
Preparing the Tooth
- The popular of the patients opt to have their cavities filled in with a tooth-colored bonding material rather than the silver mercury fillings that were usually used in the past. With composite fillings, the dentist uses dental devices that isolate the affected tooth so moisture does not prevent the composite material from properly bonding to the tooth. The dentist then applies the composite solution to fill in the missing areas and provide more support to the tooth. A distinctive light is held over the bonding material for a set amount of time until the filling hardens. Finally, the dentist files the bonding material down to perfect the patients bite.
- When silver fillings are used to treat cavities, the dentist pays a procedure that is similar to the composite filling procedure; the difference is that the tooth does not need to be secluded and a bonding light does not need to be used when silver amalgam is used to fill in cavities.
Tooth-colored Filling Benefits
- When a new cavity needs filling, the enormous majority of patients now choose tooth-colored composite fillings. White fillings are made of composite resin and serve to fill cavities just like silver amalgam fillings. However, white fillings are matched to the color of your teeth and are virtually invisible. Tooth-colored fillings have become more general over the years. As the accessibility of white fillings has increased and the possible dangers associated with amalgam fillings have been publicized, more and more patients are having their cavities filled with beautifully white, tooth-colored fillings.
Dental Filling Side Effects
- The dental fillings technique is associated with few side effects and risks. Some patients may experience sensitivity to cold and hot foods, and pain when chewing for a few days after treatment.
- Silver amalgam fillings contain about 50 percent mercury, a chemical that has been logically shown to be more toxic than lead, cadmium, or arsenic. The possibility of mercury leaking from amalgam fillings over time has prompted a movement toward mercury-free dentistry. The mercury in silver amalgam fillings is thought to leave the filling and enter the organs of the body in small amounts throughout life. Some medical consultants believe this mercury is causing physical and psychological problems in patients. The debate is ongoing but many patients are opting to remove their amalgam fillings in order to improve their appearance and ease their minds
Removing and Replacing Old Metal Fillings
- Many patients opt for the abstraction of their amalgam fillings. These patients want to enhance their cosmetic appearance by clearing their mouths of unsightly silver fillings and replacing them with tooth-colored composite fillings. This simple procedure is an easy way to make a big difference in your smile.
Dental Fillings Cost
- The cost of dental fillings varies depending on the type of filling that is used and the extent of cleaning that is require