What is a dental filling?
A dental filling is a routine dental procedure performed at Capital Dental Arts. A tooth “filling” restoration is a basic procedure that involves removing the decay from a tooth and replacing the cavity preparation “hole” with a dental material. This procedure removes the damaging decay which otherwise would lead to loss of tooth. The dental material that is placed into the cavity preparation restores aesthetics and function of the tooth. Dental fillings normally last on average 10-15 years with some even lasting longer if patient has good oral hygiene and periodically frequents the dentist.
How do I know if you need a dental filling?
We recommend that any patients with the following should be examined for a dental filling:
· Sensitivity to hot or cold
· Missing tooth structure
· Broken filling
· Chipped tooth
· A cavity “hole” in tooth
· Discolored tooth
What materials do you fill teeth with?
Here at Capital Dental Arts we use composite "tooth colored" and amalgam (silver) filling materials.
Are amalgam “silver” fillings safe?
Amalgam is an alloy material comprised of Silver, Tin, Mercury and other metals. Once mercury is alloyed with the other metals, there is no harmful health risks associated with amalgam fillings. Silver fillings have been around for 150 years. They last longer than the average tooth colored filling. Some silver fillings may last over 20 years.
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that there isn’t any reason to limit the use of amalgam. The FDA concluded that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above. Research has not shown any health effects from amalgam fillings in pregnant women either.
What other filling materials are there?
The most common filling material used today is composite resin. These fillings are bonded into the tooth. Most patients prefer this type of filling because it is more aesthetically pleasing and resembles the natural tooth. These “tooth colored” fillings last anywhere from 5 to 15 years on average.
These silver fillings are less expensive, easier to put in, have less sensitivity and are more durable than composite fillings. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury, tin, silver and other materials and therefore has a gray metal appearance. These silver fillings are selected for back teeth mainly where they are less visible when smiling and talking. Amalgam fillings can last 10-20 years with good oral hygiene.
Glass Ionomers are tooth-colored fillings made from glass particles mixed with acrylic acids. They are less durable than the two materials list above. This material is mainly used along the gum line in small cavities due to the breakdown of the material during biting forces. Glass ionomers typically last about five years with good oral hygiene.
Gold fillings are the best material in dentistry. These fillings are the most durable, lasting more than 15-25 years in many cases. The downside to these restorations is the cost. These restorations cost 10-15 times what the other fillings cost due to the expensive price of gold and the chair time associated with the procedure. These fillings normally require two or three visits. Sensitivity is not uncommon with gold fillings due to the nature of the material.