“Silver colored fillings” have been used for over a hundred years by dentists. Dental amalgam, their technical name, is a liquid mixture of mercury, tin, copper and silver that is used to fill cavities and has proven over time to be very durable, long lasting, easy to apply and a low cost alternative to gold fillings or tooth colored composites. Amalgam is often used for larger cavities or where tooth decay has occurred in the back teeth where a lot of chewing is done due to their ability to withstand a great deal of force. It also dries quickly which helps greatly in dealing with areas that are hard to keep dry and is used often with patients who have a difficult time remaining still during treatment, like children.
Amalgam does not match the color of your teeth and can be quite noticeable if used on any of the front teeth. Many questions have been raised about whether amalgam is safe due to its mercury content. All the materials used in amalgam combine to make a “very safe and stable material” based on extensive and thorough studies by the American Dental Association, US Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization and the US Center for Disease Control. Dental amalgam is a cavity filler that is safe and dependable.
With great advances in the cosmetic dental field, a patient’s choices for addressing tooth decay with fillings that match your teeth and keep that beautiful smile in tack are abundant; as well as replacing silver fillings that unfortunately can sometimes turn dark or even black after years in the mouth due to oxidation of the metal. Tooth colored restorations can restore the natural beauty of your teeth by removing silver fillings and replacing them with the following options:
- Composite Resin: These tooth colored restorations are fitted in a single visit. They are generally the most cost effective option in filling a cavity while maintaining the same color of your tooth. Composite resin is a mixture of glass and plastic that is tooth colored. Application is easy and done in layers; each layer hardens by a specialized light. Composites are a safe way to fill a cavity and help support what remains of the tooth structure and of course aesthetically it looks great as well as being a perfect match to your surrounding teeth. This procedure is usually covered by dental insurance plans and on average they last 10 years or more.
- Porcelain inlays and on-lays: Porcelain is much harder than resin and lasts a very long time. They are the longest lasting type of “white fillings available. A porcelain inlay or on-lay is custom made to fit your tooth exactly and requires two (2) appointments to complete. They are securely bonded when placed in the cavity, are very strong, don’t stain and help stabilize the surrounding tooth structure. A stronger, long lasting alternative to resin, while achieving the natural look in your mouth and smile. Dr. Thompson can thoroughly go over any questions you may have and discuss which option is best for you.
- Porcelain Crowns: If tooth decay has ravaged a good portion of your tooth, an old silver filling begins to darken and further tooth damage has occurred or a large portion of your tooth is fractured or chipped due to trauma; a tooth colored crown is designed to re-establish the natural beauty and form of your tooth structure. A porcelain crown is durable, stain resistant and long lasting. If a great deal of your tooth is compromised, a crown is a solid alternative that will match your surrounding teeth.
Please call Kierland Dental Center and let us explain all the alternatives available for “tooth-colored fillings” and find the one that is best for your budget while not compromising any tooth structure or that beautiful smile.