Posts for tag: fillings
Dental amalgam—also known as “silver fillings”—has been used for nearly a hundred years to treat cavities. There are several reasons why this mixture of metals has been the go-to material among dentists: Malleable when first applied, dental amalgam sets up into a durable dental filling that can take years of biting forces. What’s more, it’s stable and compatible with living tissue.
But there’s been growing concern in recent years about the safety of dental amalgam, with even some wondering if they should have existing fillings replaced. The reason: liquid mercury.
Mercury makes up a good portion of dental amalgam’s base mixture, to which other metals like silver, tin or copper are added to it in powder form. This forms a putty that can be easily worked into a prepared cavity. And despite the heightened awareness of the metal’s toxicity to humans, it’s still used in dental amalgam.
The reason why is that there are various forms of mercury and not all are toxic. The form making headlines is known as methylmercury, a compound created when mercury from the environment fuses with organic molecules. The compound builds up in the living tissues of animals, particularly large ocean fish, which have accumulated high concentrations passed up through their food chain.
That’s not what’s used in dental amalgam. Dentists instead use a non-toxic, elemental form of mercury that when set up becomes locked within the amalgam and cannot leach out. Based on various studies, treating cavities with it poses no health risks to humans.
This also means there’s no medical reason for having an existing silver fillings removed. Doing so, though, could cause more harm than good because it could further weaken the remaining tooth structure.
The most viable reason for not getting a dental amalgam filling is cosmetic: The metallic appearance of amalgam could detract from your smile. There are newer, more life-like filling options available. Your dentist, though, may still recommend dental amalgam for its strength and compatibility, especially for back teeth. It’s entirely safe to accept this recommendation.
Find out what tooth-colored fillings can do to improve the health of your smile.
Most people know what dental fillings are. Perhaps you are about to get one yourself or you already know someone who has one or more. Our Fargo, ND, cosmetic dentists Drs. Jon and Brad Anderson and Dr. Breding know that having metal in your mouth can be unsightly and may detract from your beautiful smile, which is why we offer tooth-colored fillings.
What are composite fillings?
Composite fillings are typically used to restore the shape of a tooth after a cavity. Once the decayed enamel has been drilled away, we will need to fill these visible holes. Of course, there are instances when a dentist may use metal amalgam fillings (particularly to restore back teeth), but most of the time composite fillings can be used.
This same moldable tooth-colored resin can be used to also cosmetically enhance the shape, size or color of a tooth in a technique known as dental bonding. This resin can even cover over small chips and cracks and fill small gaps between teeth.
What are the benefits of getting composite fillings in Fargo?
The most obvious benefit is that composite fillings are tooth-colored, so this restoration will not be visible when you smile. In fact, the resin is even matched to the shade of your teeth to make sure that the filling matches as closely as possible.
In some cases, placing this filling could actually strengthen and improve the tooth’s durability (this is often the case if you have a tooth that has been cracked or chipped). The composite resin is matched to your tooth and then applied in layers. The resin has a putty-like texture and is placed over the tooth to restore its shape. After each layer is shaped, our Fargo dentists will harden the resin in place with a special dental laser.
Have questions about composite fillings? Need to schedule your routine dental exam? Call Anderson Dental in Fargo, ND, today and find out how we can help your smile.