Most adults will have at least one cavity in their lives, so it’s no surprise that dealing with tooth decay is one of the most common problems addressed by dentists. When teeth have been damaged by decay, dental fillings are generally used to fill in the lost tooth structure. In the past, a mixture, or amalgam, of metals was used to fill the tooth. Now, we have other restorative dentistry options that we can use to restore teeth, including composite, tooth-colored fillings. To learn more about tooth-colored fillings benefits, contact our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA practice.
About Dental Fillings
Dental fillings have been used for more than a century. These small dental restorations are used to treat cavities, which are also called dental caries. Metal amalgam was the filling material of choice until the 1990s and 2000s when advanced composite materials were developed. Now, the benefits of tooth-colored fillings have become widely known, and these dental restorations provide many advantages over amalgam fillings.
Problems Associated with Amalgam Fillings
Metal dental fillings are not a subtle restorative dentistry option. The dark gray material is obvious to the naked eye after it has been embedded in the natural structure of the tooth. When some people smile or laugh, the metal fillings may show, causing some patients to become self-conscious about the appearance of their dental fillings.
Aesthetic issues aside, however, there are other, more serious concerns that can impact a person’s health. One of the metals used in amalgam fillings is mercury, which is a toxic substance. Although the amount of mercury is very small, many patients prefer composite fillings because they do not contain any toxic materials.
In addition, metal fillings can damage the tooth because the material expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are a number of advantages that only tooth-colored fillings provide, including:
- They are more attractive than metal fillings. Because they are color-matched to the rest of your teeth, tooth-colored fillings blend in seamlessly. You can smile with confidence and no one will even know the restoration is in place.
- They are safer. Although it is still widely believed that amalgam fillings are safe, many patients and dentists are uncomfortable with the idea of having mercury in their mouths. Composite, tooth-colored fillings eliminate any anxiety about the presence of mercury.
- They are less destructive. With tooth-colored fillings, more of the natural tooth can be kept intact than with metal fillings. This helps to maintain the tooth’s natural strength.
- They are durable. Tooth-colored fillings last longer than metal fillings; with proper care, they can last for a decade or more.
- They are less sensitive. Unlike amalgam fillings, which can expand and contract when they are exposed to hot or cold temperatures, tooth-colored fillings do not change in size.
- They strengthen teeth. Tooth-colored fillings don’t just fill a hole left by a cavity; they actually bond to the tooth itself, restoring the strength that was lost to the decay.
Learn More about the Advantages of Tooth-colored Fillings
For more information about tooth-colored fillings and your many other options for effective dental restoration, be sure to contact us at SoCal Smiles Dentistry.