Tooth-Colored Fillings | What You Need To Know
Why Are Tooth-Colored Fillings the Better Option for Cavities?
When you have teeth that are damaged by decay, one of the solutions that your dentist can provide is a filling. First, the decayed tooth material will be removed, and then the affected area is cleaned. Afterwards, a filling can be placed on the cleaned out cavity in order to close off all spaces where bacteria can enter and stimulate further decay.
Dental fillings can be made of different materials. Some people will choose fillings made of porcelain or gold. Others prefer tooth-colored fillings, also called composite resin. An amalgam can also be used — it’s an alloy of silver, copper, mercury, tin, and zinc (in some cases).
A better choice
Many dentists recommend tooth-colored restorations over the more controversial silver fillings for a number of reasons, including:
- Tooth-colored restorations, porcelain inlays/onlays or composite resin are bonded to the affected tooth. This means that there is a tight, secure fit to the natural tooth, helping it become stronger and more intact.
- The resin cement used in tooth-colored fillings can contain fluoride, which can help prevent further tooth decay.
- Tooth-colored restorations do not require placement below the gum line, so you get fillings that wear like natural teeth and promote gum health.
- These are mercury-free fillings, so none of the health risks associated with silver fillings and dental amalgam are cause for concern.
Silver fillings, on the other hand, come with considerable disadvantages such as:
- Their edges can break, wear down, or become weak, which results in reduced protection for the tooth and a risk of causing new cavities to develop.
- Over time, the metal in silver fillings can expand, contract, and eventually cause the tooth to split.
- Silver fillings contain 50% mercury, and when they corrode or leak, your teeth and gums can become stained.
- Dental amalgam emits mercury even after being implanted into the body, which endangers human health. In pregnant women, the mercury can penetrate the placenta and accumulate in the fetus. Children, fetuses, nursing infants and individuals with compromised kidney function are more prone to health risks caused by mercury.
- When amalgam is used as a cavity filling, a substantial amount of healthy tooth matter must be removed. The drawback is that the overall tooth structure becomes damaged and weak, so more dental work will need to be done in the future.
- Dental devices that come with mercury add to the pollution in the environment. The mercury finds its way into the water waste in dental clinics, which can then end up in water systems and the ocean.
If you have silver or amalgam fillings, they can be effectively replaced with tooth-colored fillings in just one sitting (with the help of technology called computer aided design and computer assisted milling or CADCAM) or in two appointments (using chairside oral scanning or COS). Your dentist can help your teeth become stronger, with a more natural look and feel.