There once was a time when it was reasonable to assume that if you needed a dental filling you could expect to have some form of visible metal to appear in your mouth, called an amalgam. But as time wore on, there were some problems that arose as a result of the latter, prompting professionals in the world of dentistry to seek a better way. Thankfully, that day has come, which is why your dentist in Huber Heights wants you to know about the amazing option of tooth-colored fillings. As you continue reading, you’ll learn why this type of restoration is better that the alternative.
What’s the Difference Between an Amalgam and Tooth-Colored Filling?
A dental filling is used to repair tooth enamel when a cavity has tunneled a hole into it. The amalgam and tooth-colored options address the problem using different methods, thus described:
- Amalgam – The amalgam filling is a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury, the latter comprising nearly 50% of the mixture. These fillings are most often used for the back teeth, are comprised of the least expensive material available and can last up to 10 years.
- Tooth-Colored – The tooth-colored option is made of a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles that can be directly or indirectly bonded to the tooth. The direct method involves placing the resin on the enamel using a special light to harden it, while the indirect procedure involves creating a mold of the affected area and then applying the fabricated version to the damaged ivory. The compound resin route will typically cost more than having an amalgam procedure and can last up to fifteen years.
The Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Although tooth-colored fillings will usually cost more than the amalgam option, there are quite a few advantages to using this application, including:
- Less Allergic Reactions – Some people have allergic reactions to mercury, causing rashes and fatigue syndrome. This can be averted by using the resin alternative.
- Color – When using the compound resin option, you won’t have to worry about living with unsightly silver fillings visible in your mouth.
- Less Drilling – One of the aspects of an amalgam dental filling that is the least appealing is the drilling. You will endure far less with the tooth-colored option.
- Stronger Bond – Because the material is heated to secure it, you can expect a stronger bond with your teeth than with amalgam fillings.
- Can be Mixed with Other Materials – To get the best of both worlds, resin can be mixed with metal, providing you with the strength of amalgam fillings to withstand the pressure of chewing, the strong bond created by the heat-cured resin filling and the aesthetic appeal of an application that matches the color of your teeth.
A final point to keep in mind is that once tooth decay starts, it doesn’t stop until treated, so it’s important to reach out to your Huber Heights dentist to be seen. Before you know it, you’ll be back to functioning as normal with a natural looking tooth that is fortified and healthy.
About the Author
Dr. James A. Striebel earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Case Western Reserve Dental School and has gone on to practice dentistry for over 20 years. A member of the Dayton Dental Society and several other professional organizations, he practices at James A. Striebel, DDS, DABDSM and can be reached for more information through his website.