If you love sweets and don’t pay enough attention to dental care, cavities are always a risk you’ll have to live with. Thankfully, with the advancements in dentistry over the years, you may be able to find a variety of options to consider for tooth repair. Dental filling is the most commonly carried-out procedures in the world. Approximately 90% of Americans develop at least one cavity between the ages of 20 and 64.
Although dental fillings are routinely performed, patients don’t generally question about the material being used in the procedure. Instead, they consider the treatment as routine. However, it is vital for every patient to know their best options and which material will suit their smile.
Previously, silver amalgam filling used to be widely available and was considered as the patient’s first choice. But today, most dentists prefer to use composite resin as the primary material in dental fillings.
Also known as silver fillings; these are made from a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. This filling material has remained widely present through history and continues to be used by dentists of today. Amalgam filling was first introduced in 1895.
The filling contains mercury, which takes up 50% of the compound to help bind the metals together, ultimately providing a strong, long-lasting filling. When mercury in filling is combined with other metals, the mercury forms a stable and steady compound. Colored fillings are also known as ceramic and porcelain.
Pros and Cons of Amalgam Filling
As discussed earlier, amalgam fillings have been in the market for 150 years and hence have established a trustworthy reputation amongst patients and dentists. This type of filling is comparatively less expensive and offers much longer-lasting results, provided that you’re properly taking care of it.
Generally it can last up to 15 years. This is simply due to the metal alloy in the filling, which offers stronger and firmer resistance to damage. Amalgam filling has the ability to go hard very quickly, which makes this treatment less stressful for special needs patients or kids.
Having said that, amalgam filling can become quite embarrassing for people because of its visibility and noticeable quality. You can easily view an amalgam filling from a distance as its silver shiny color is hard to miss and with the passing time, it can cause the tooth to change its color to slightly grayish and dull.
Regardless of all the benefits amalgam filling has to offer, in recent years, it has developed a bad reputation because of the presence of mercury. Mercury usage in products has been discouraged by doctors due to patients showing signs of allergies and sensitivities.
Composite filling is a newer form of dental filling. It was firstly introduced in the 60s and, over the last few decades, has become the preferred choice of most dentists.
Resin composite filling is composed of a ceramic and plastic compound. These fillings have the ability to blend it right in and can exactly resemble the appearance of natural teeth. They are also popularly known as white filling and tooth-colored filling.
Pros and Cons of Composite Resin Filling
Composite fillings are prepared from a combination of acrylic and ceramic to help match your tooth enamel beautifully. This particular filling can give you the confidence you need because it practically looks as natural as your real teeth.
The process does not require you to lose too much tooth enamel and nor is the process of tooth preparation too long. Composite resin is used to fill small to medium sized cavities in the front and back teeth and can easily bond with the surface of your tooth.
You can even use composite filling to fix superficial flaws like a chipped or cracked tooth. The material of the filling is not affected by temperature and it therefore does not expand or contract like amalgam fillings.
Although composite fillings give you the perfect smile, it has a life span of only five to seven years, which is half the lifetime of an amalgam filling. The cost of the filling is comparatively higher than other fillings and requires a longer treatment process at the dentist’s clinic.
The Importance of Dental Filling
Although dental enamel is one of the strongest tissues in your body, it is also vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Dental fillings are specifically designed to overcome decay in tooth enamel in order to restore and preserve a tooth’s appearance, strength and arrangement.
Bacteria can easily be accumulated if plaque is left untreated for very, long resulting in the bacteria invading the teeth and causing cavities. These cavities need to be treated with a dental filling so bacteria are not able to damage the affected tooth any further. Untreated cavities can result in severe damage to the tooth’s canal.
Keeping in mind the above, it goes without saying that dental fillings are crucial as a method of treating cavities and preventing the development of more serious problems later in life.