The Real Benefits of "Teeth Colored" Fillings
Through most of the history of modern dentistry, the standard of care has been to fill cavities with dental amalgam. Most adults who were treated for tooth decay in their youth have at least one "silver filling," and many of the youngest generation of dental patients have also received this type of restorative care. Dr. Merten is a dentist who offers choices. Patients of our Schenectady, NY practice may elect to have cavities repaired with an amalgam alternative: composite fillings.
In the past several years alone, there has been a global shift in the use of dental amalgam, for several reasons. We do not involve ourselves in the conversation about the validity or safety of this proven restorative method. What we do know is that composite fillings are preferred by many of our patients.
Composite fillings are also commonly referred to as tooth-colored fillings due to their resemblance to natural enamel. The composite material is a mix of quartz and resin, a type of plastic. It comes in a variety of shades, which facilitates the most discreet result. The appearance of a tooth-colored filling, though, is only one of several reasons that patients opt for this method of care.
- Dental amalgam contains metal. In some patients, the presence of metal in their fillings can cause them to struggle with sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures in the mouth. The degree of discomfort, and the longevity of this side effect, cannot be predicted.
- In addition to restoring the smile to its most authentic appearance, tooth-colored fillings also restore the greatest extent of structural integrity to the tooth. Composite is bonded to the tooth; amalgam is not. The bonding of composite creates a strong, durable fit that some say enhances the overall strength of the whole.
- Minimal reduction is needed to bond a composite filling into place, though the actual treatment process may take a little longer. Preserving the structure of the natural tooth is usually the preference of patients - and their dentist.
- Composite is considered by some to be gentler to the existing tooth structure. This stems from the similarity between enamel and the composite material. When the mouth becomes hot or cold, both enamel and the quartz and resin mixture expand and contract at about the same rate. This decreases the risk of fracture.
Don't wait until you need restorative care to see the dentist. Call (518) 374-0780 to schedule an exam and cleaning with our friendly team.