Have you ever had a dental cavity? Odds are high that you have. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults 20 to 64 have had a cavity at some point in their lives. If you’ve had a cavity which often leads to tooth decay, you’ve probably had fillings put into your mouth. And depending on when you had them done, your fillings might have been made of grey metal amalgam – a combination of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. These days, dentists rarely use dental amalgam fillings on their patients. Instead, they use “white fillings,” which are made from composite resin. This change has led some people to wonder: are the new fillings better than the old – and should you replace your old silver fillings? Today, let’s take a look at the difference between these two filling options in cosmetic dentistry.
What Are “White Fillings”?White fillings are dental fillings made from composite dental resin. As their name suggests, white fillings are white, which means they are tooth colored fillings that blend more seamlessly with the rest of your teeth. No more flashes of silver when you speak or laugh! These days, white composite resin fillings are the standard among most dental offices. There are two reasons for this: white fillings just look more natural than silver fillings, and white fillings are much safer than their silver counterparts.
The Benefits of Composite FillingsWhat makes white fillings safer than the old-fashioned, silver ones? Two words: no mercury. About 50% of a silver amalgam filling is made from mercury, which can cause health problems among some patients. Composite resin fillings do not contain any mercury, and therefore they do not carry this particular risk. Additionally, composite fillings are stronger and more durable than their old silver filling counterparts. White fillings do not expand or contract in response to temperature changes (the way metal fillings do). Therefore, they will not put extra strain on your teeth. Our Lake Zurich dentists can attest another benefit of white fillings is that they are bonded directly onto the tooth. The resin effectively acts like asphalt filling a pothole; once the cavity is filled, the tooth is stronger than it was before. Silver fillings do not use this same bonding process, and they are less durable because of it.
Replacing Silver FillingsAs you can see, there is a reason that silver fillings have fallen out of fashion in the dental world. But thousands of people across the country still have them… so, should those fillings be replaced? Some people seem to think so. These days, many people with silver fillings ask their dentists to replace them with new composite ones. However, this composite filling procedure isn’t always necessary. if your old silver fillings are in good shape, if they aren’t causing any pain, and if you don’t mind the silver spots in your mouth, it’s ok to leave your fillings right where they are. Of course, if you do want to replace your fillings, it is possible to do so. You and your dentist can determine whether or not new composite fillings are the best option for your smile.
Cavity PreventionIn conclusion, the most ideal solution for dental fillings is to avoid them altogether. Preventative care in oral health is the most effective form of treatment. By following a few simple steps, such as brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, maintaining a balanced diet, and visiting the dentist regularly, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing cavities and other dental problems.
Schedule Your Appointment TodayWhether you want to replace old silver fillings or have a new cavity filled, Manus Dental is here for you. We have an experienced team of dental professionals who can create a pleasant experience for you – and make your smile more beautiful to boot! If you want to schedule an appointment with our Hyde Park dental office or with Manus Dental, all you have to do is call one of our offices.