Cavities are the most common health epidemic in the US. About 95% of US adults develop cavities at some point in their lives. The most common treatment for cavities is fillings. In the past, metal amalgam fillings were used, and they worked. But they had many shortcomings, which is why we offer tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings not only look more attractive, they can create a strong seal with your teeth, and can restore strength to your teeth. And they don’t contain toxic mercury.
If you are looking for a dentist in Anchorage offering tooth-colored fillings or want to remove your old metal fillings, please call (907) 349-0022 or Contact us today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.
Benefits of Tooth-colored Fillings
Although metal amalgam fillings have dominated the industry for more than 150 years, that was largely because we didn’t have alternative treatments. But since their introduction, tooth-colored fillings have rapidly grown in popularity because of their many benefits, such as:
- Natural tooth appearance
- Doesn’t oxidize and won’t turn black
- Won’t discolor teeth
- Preserves more natural tooth structure
- Seals with tooth
- Can insulate teeth
- Can strengthen teeth
- Don’t contain toxic mercury
Tooth-colored fillings are mostly known for their natural appearance. When properly placed and polished, tooth-colored fillings will blend in with your teeth. No one needs to know that you have fillings. Metal amalgam fillings start out a highly visible silver and they can get worse. The fillings can oxidize (rust) and turn black. These blackened fillings don’t just affect the appearance of the filling, it can actually discolor your teeth.
Tooth colored fillings can also be made smaller. We don’t have to drill out as much of your natural tooth material to place a tooth-colored filling. Natural tooth material is irreplaceable, and no dental material quite matches it for appearance and durability, so it’s best to preserve it whenever possible.
Metal amalgam fillings aren’t actually attached to your teeth. Instead, they’re just pushed in the hole drilled in your tooth, held in place by pressure. However, if the pressure decreases, liquid and bacteria can seep in around the filling, leading to erosion and decay around the filling.Tooth-colored fillings are actually bonded to your teeth, and create a tight seal, so liquids and bacteria are kept out.
Keeping liquids out helps tooth-colored fillings keep your teeth insulated so you’re less sensitive to hot and cold liquids. And because they’re not metal, they won’t conduct the heat into your tooth as much as metal amalgam fillings.
Because metal amalgam fillings don’t bond to your tooth, they actually weaken your tooth because they create a place where fractures can start. But tooth-colored fillings don’t lead to as much weakening. Partly, you retain more of your natural teeth. But tooth-colored fillings that are made of ceramic can actually strengthen your teeth.
Tooth-colored fillings also don’t contain toxic mercury. Metal amalgam fillings are half mercury by weight. According to the FDA and the American Dental Association, metal amalgam fillings are safe. But we know that mercury leaves your fillings and concentrates in various parts of the body. And a ban on mercury fillings is part of a worldwide convention trying to reduce toxic mercury in the environment.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
If tooth-colored fillings aren’t metal, what are they? Tooth-colored fillings come in two types: composite and ceramic. Composite fillings are a plastic matrix that has inclusions of glass or ceramic to add strength. These are easily prepared and fitted in a single visit. These tend to be less durable than metal amalgam fillings.
Ceramic fillings are made of advanced ceramics that combine beauty and strength. These can be more than ten times as strong as your natural tooth enamel, and they can be even more durable than metal amalgam fillings. The only disadvantages are that they are more expensive than other fillings, and they take two visits to place. At the first visit, your tooth is prepared and an impression is taken. That impression is sent to a lab where your filling, sometimes called an inlay or onlay, is prepared. After two weeks or so, your filling is ready and you’ll have a second appointment to place it.