In the 1800s, dentists discovered that silver and other metals could be used to fill cavities, so they used those materials to restore a decayed tooth’s structure and function. Trace amounts of mercury were even added to make the substance more pliable.
However, eventually people began to grow concerned about the amount of mercury in these fillings. After all, mercury can cause serious harm when it enters the body. While doctors and scientists have not confirmed that the amount of mercury in metal fillings is truly a threat, many of them agreed that another filling material was long past due. Today, your dentist in Evergreen uses composite resin to restore your decayed teeth back to full health.
While some dentists still place amalgam fillings, their clearest disadvantage is their appearance. Once they have been placed, metal fillings stand out in your smile. The metal can seep into the tooth and leave behind a dark gray stain that makes people afraid to smile confidently. Additionally, many patients have a sensitivity or allergy to metal. They may experience discomfort or even pain when eating certain hot or cold foods. Those people would obviously benefit more from tooth-colored fillings.
On the other hand, tooth-colored fillings (also known as composite or white fillings) are designed with the purpose of maintaining the beauty of your smile. Besides being more aesthetically pleasing, tooth-colored fillings are also a more conservative treatment. The composite resin that the fillings are made of directly bonds to your tooth, sealing out bacteria and preventing further decay in the future. In addition, we only have to remove a little, if any, enamel in order to place a tooth-colored filling. To make room for metal fillings, more of your enamel had to be carved out to place the filling, but that’s not the case with composite resin. With tooth-colored fillings, you can retain more of your natural tooth structure.
Because the composite resin bonds directly to your tooth, no extra enamel has to be drilled away. Instead, our dentists will only remove the decayed portion. Also, because your tooth has more of its original structure, the filling should last significantly longer than its metal counterpart.
To begin the process of placing a tooth-colored filling, we’ll numb the treatment area. You may feel a slight pressure during the process, but you shouldn’t experience pain. We’ll then remove the damaged section of the tooth. Next, we’ll apply the composite resin layer by layer until the tooth is built up to the optimal size and shape. Using a curing light, we’ll harden the material into place so that it forms a tight bond with your enamel. Lastly, we’ll polish the tooth and check your bite to make sure it fits within your tooth.
With regular brushing, flossing, and checkups and cleanings with us, you can expect your tooth-colored filling to last around a decade before it needs to be replaced. It’s important to note, though, that these fillings are just as susceptible to staining as your natural teeth. For this reason, it’s best to limit your exposure to discoloring foods and beverages like coffee and darkly pigmented sauces. If you’re going to enjoy these items, brush your teeth or at least rinse with water immediately afterward.
Do you want a metal-free solution to cavities? Then contact us today to schedule your appointment to revitalize your smile with a tooth-colored filling!