A lot of people are afraid of what others will see when they open their mouths to speak or laugh out loud. Those old, silver fillings are just sitting back in their teeth, waiting to be noticed, and it can make a person extremely self conscious.
We’re not a fan of that particular material for filling cavities – not when there is a functional and cosmetic option available for everyone to use.
Tooth-colored fillings are an affordable and aesthetic option for treating tooth decay and getting the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.
These filling are, of course, particularly useful in the front teeth where a cavity is immediately noticeable, but as the techniques and materials have developed, we can use them for practically any cavity.
At our office, tooth-colored fillings in Denver CO are about more than appearances, and we haven’t used silver fillings in more than 15 years because of some potential problems with the material. In essence, porcelain or composite fillings are simply the most aesthetic and effective choice.
So What, Exactly, Are Amalgam Fillings?
Let’s get this definition out there so we’re all on the same page. These metal fillings are often just referred to as silver fillings, but the term “amalgam” is more accurate because there are a number of metals in the mix. Specifically, you’ll find silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury in different concentrations.
Mercury, of course, is a questionable element to have placed in your teeth.
To be clear, though, the World Health Organization, the American Dental Association, and other organizations have said that the amalgam fillings are safe. Still, there’s no reason to willingly put mercury in your teeth where they’ll sit for years and years.
Even if it is technically safe, they simply aren’t aesthetically appealing, and they can corrode or tarnish over the years, making them look even worse. They can also require more drilling into the healthy tooth in order to create a usable bonding surface.
The Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are several benefits to using these types of fillings over traditional amalgam. The first and most obvious is that they match the rest of your teeth, making them almost indistinguishable from the natural tooth.
The bonding process is also far more effective than amalgam because less of the healthy tooth has to be removed. Previously, the tooth would have to be shaped in order to securely hold onto the metal. Now, the modern bonding process means we can preserve much more of the healthy tooth.
The results of modern composites are very strong. There was a time when dentists might still use amalgam for larger cavities in the back teeth because the older materials could crack or chip. Now, modern materials are durable enough to do the same jobs that once required amalgam.
And, of course, there is no mercury in the material. While amalgam fillings are considered safe by the WHO, many people are sensitive to some metals, so there’s no reason to risk it.
How It Works
The procedure for tooth-colored fillings is very similar to the process for amalgam. This material is made out of resin (a composite of fine glass particles and plastic) or porcelain instead of metal, but the process starts the same.
The procedure begins by removing the decayed portion of the tooth and then thoroughly cleaning the area to get rid of the bacteria and other unwanted materials. The tooth will then be isolated to make sure that moisture doesn’t get in there. It needs to be totally dry to make sure the bonding process works properly.
The next step is to apply an adhesive material, which is then followed by the composite resin in many thin layers. These layers are hardened in place with a bonding light, and once it’s all done, we’ll give you some basic instructions on how you can care for it and when you can chew on it again. Keep brushing and flossing your newly repaired teeth like normal, because a tooth-colored filling can be stained by certain foods and beverages.
And finally, you can start to speak and laugh without the same self-conscious feelings that often accompany a mouth full of metal fillings.
Contact LeDowns Dentistry, a trusted and experienced Denver dentist, if you think you may need a filling or other dental work done.