If you have a cavity, you know that you probably require a filling. You may not know, however, that you now have more options when it comes to the material used for your restoration. In the past, fillings were always made of silver amalgam, a material comprised of several metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Today, however, our Virginia Beach practice offers tooth-colored fillings, made from advanced dental composite. This material offers enormous cosmetic and health benefits that previous generations of dental fillings simply cannot provide.
When you have a cavity, the bacteria will continue to spread until the decay is treated. If left untreated long enough, the bacteria may eventually spread to your dental nerves, leading to infection, abscesses, and significant discomfort. Before placing a filling, your dentist will clean out all bacteria and seal the inside of your tooth to stop the spread of decay.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of tooth-colored fillings is that this material maintains the appearance of your smile. Both amalgam and composite fillings look great at first, and most patients enjoy a healthy, restored smile. Over time, however, metal fillings often begin to show through your teeth, making your teeth appear discolored. Even the most effective whitening treatment cannot target this discoloration. On the other hand, composite fillings will not show through your teeth, and because your cosmetic dentist can match the composite to the natural color of your teeth, there is no better option to protect the appearance of your smile.
There are also a number of health benefits related to composite fillings. First, metal fillings expand and contract with changes in temperature. Although these variations are slight, over time, they can damage the structure of your teeth, and you may require more extensive restorative work, such as a dental crown. Second, to place a filling, your dentist must reshape the inside of your tooth. When the dentist places a composite filling, he or she must remove far less of your tooth structure than when placing a metal filling.
“Silver” amalgam is actually compromised of more than 50 percent mercury. This substance has been linked to a number of health risks including:
Although the mercury is initially contained within the metal filling, after several years, it may begin to leak out and enter your blood stream, where it is transported all over your body. There is currently a heated debate in the dental community regarding metal fillings. Some believe they are an enormous health risk, while others believe there is no danger associated with silver amalgam. With so many unanswered questions and the many other benefits of composite resin, choosing tooth-colored fillings seems an easy choice.
Our dentists proudly place tooth-colored composite fillings that are carefully selected to match your teeth. We can also replace old metal fillings with modern composite. To learn more about tooth-colored fillings, call The Smile Center today.