Dental fillings are used when you develop a cavity. The filling is used to replace lost tooth enamel and protect the interior of the tooth from further decay and infection. And the best fillings also restore the appearance of your smile. In the past, metal amalgam fillings were used, but these were unattractive and contain toxic mercury. Modern fillings are mercury free and can be beautiful.
If you have tooth decay and need a filling, we can help you get an attractive restoration that protects your teeth against future decay, please call 201-343-4044 or email the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings are rapidly becoming the most popular filling option in the US because they offer many benefits, such as:
- Require less preparation of tooth
- Blend in with natural teeth
- Create a good seal with tooth
- Don’t turn black (oxidize)
- Insulate teeth
Tooth-colored fillings can often be placed with the removal of only a small amount of tooth material. By preserving more of your natural tooth material, this can help maintain the strength of your teeth. Tooth-colored fillings can be matched to the shade of your teeth. They are also polished to give them a luster like your natural tooth enamel. They don’t turn black in your mouth, and they insulate your teeth against changes in temperature, such as drinking a cold beer between bites of hot pizza.
These benefits make tooth-colored fillings a treatment that is both attractive and practical. People tend to be happier with their tooth-colored fillings than they are with metal amalgam fillings.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are a kind of resin (plastic) combined with inclusions of ceramic material to add strength, the same material used in dental bonding. The plastic initially begins as a putty-like material that is used to fill the area left after your dentist removes all the decay. Once the putty is in place, a curing light is used to harden the plastic. If you have deep cavities, the filling might have to be done in multiple stages.
Sometimes, people describe inlays and onlays as a kind of tooth-colored filling.
Concerns about Metal Amalgam Fillings
In addition to their cosmetic and functional limitations, metal amalgam fillings come with a significant health concern. Although they are sometimes described as “silver” fillings, metal amalgam contains about 50% mercury by weight.
Mercury is a highly toxic metal, one of the most toxic substances known. And we know that mercury doesn’t stay in the fillings. Some of it evaporates, and some of it migrates through the tooth.
Although the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insist that metal amalgam fillings are safe, others are not as sure.