Barrett G. Moore, DDS, PA & Associates – Charlotte NC
A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used to artificially restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from cavities, tooth fracture, or external trauma. Dental restorations may be fabricated out of a variety of materials:
Dental Amalgam is a commonly used dental filling that has been used for over 150 years. It is a mixture of mercury and at least one other metal. Amalgam has many advantages over other restorative material, such as, lower cost, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effects.
Amalgam is used in dentistry for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use and manipulate during placement; it remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any irregular volume, and then forms a hard compound. Amalgam possesses greater longevity than other direct restorative materials, such as composite. On average, most amalgam restorations serve for 10 to 12 years, whereas resin-based composites serve for about half that time. However, with recent improvements in composite material, science, and a better understanding of the technique-sensitivity of placement, it should be noted that this difference is decreasing.
There are circumstances in which composite (white fillings) serves better than amalgam: when amalgam is not indicated, or when a more conservative preparation would be beneficial, composite is the recommended restorative material.
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.
Disadvantages Of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and creates an environment where cavities start growing once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain 50% mercury. They can corrode, leak, and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth-colored restorations.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth, creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contains fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings With A Tooth-Colored Restoration
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations. Many people are replacing their worn-out silver fillings with composite (white) fillings. Depending on the size of the restoration and the remaining tooth structure, these fillings can usually be restored in 1-2 visits.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger due to the restoration and the tooth is protected!