Understanding The Different Types of Tooth Fillings
Why Do You Need Tooth Fillings?
You will need dental fillings when you have a cavity and the dentist needs to fill that space with something that will offer comfort and give you a natural look. For the most part, patients require fillings whenever the dentist removes a cavity, with very few exceptions. You might have fillings from many years ago, or you might have received fillings from a dentist in the past few months.
Fillings help prevent any contact with the nerves in your teeth, and you can typically feel when a tooth filling fell out or became dislodged. You will experience extreme sensitivity to hot and cold liquids, and you will feel a twinge every time you chew something with that tooth or eat something sweet.
Because this tooth pain can be intense, we ask that you contact us immediately. Trying to put back a tooth filling at home without proper assistance is never a good idea as it could cause more damage.
What Types of Tooth Fillings Are Available?
There are two common types of fillings on the market. There are amalgam or “metal” fillings and composite fillings. While you may think it is challenging to choose between the two, they vary widely in their design and technology. We are happy to answer your questions during an appointment or survey your fillings while providing other dental services.
Metal Tooth Fillings
Metal fillings have been in use for around 150 years, and they often go back to silver fillings used by dentists in the latter part of the 19th century. At that time, the metals could have been a mixture of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. The silver amalgam filling is most common today.
The technology for metal fillings has advanced over time, but they still have their ups and downs.
Pros of Metal Tooth Fillings
- They tend to be the least expensive filling available
- The materials are durable, usually lasting up to 13 years
- The material hardens very quickly, allowing for a shorter recovery period
- Modern metal fillings involve quite a lot of technology and material advancements
- They work well for kids who might have baby teeth come loose in the future
- They are not sensitive to moisture
As you can see, these fillings have their advantages, but there are also some disadvantages.
Cons of Metal Tooth Fillings
- Mercury levels in amalgam fillings are safe for you, but they require the dentist to remove more of the tooth
- You can see them no matter where they are
- You might be allergic to these fillings
- The fillings will expand and contract based on ambient temperatures, no matter the filling procedures used, which can cause temporary sensitivity
- Certain dentists do not offer metal fillings anymore
As a result, we tend to replace metal fillings with composite fillings. Read further to learn more about tooth-colored fillings and how they can help you look your best.
Composite Resin Tooth Fillings
Composite fillings are the most popular fillings on the market, and they have been in wide use since the 1960s. As a result, most Americans will have composite fillings. However, there are plenty of dentists who used amalgam fillings longer than others, and you may have a mixture of the two.
The composite material is made with a resin that can last 5 to 7 years, which can fix minor cosmetic issues and blend with any color. The material does not include any dangerous chemicals.
Pros of Composite Resin Tooth Fillings
- They are more esthetic
- They help stop tooth decay
- They make dental treatment quicker and more comfortable
- They can be used for inlays or onlays
- They can be matched to the color of your teeth
- Some composite fillings can release fluoride to help protect your teeth
- The resin bonds better to your teeth, making them less likely to come loose
- The material does exhibits less sensitivity because it is not a conductor like metal
Cons of Composite Resin Tooth Fillings
- They are more expensive
- They do not last as long
Why Replace Your Metal Tooth Fillings
Replacing your metal fillings is a quality, cosmetic, and healthcare decision. On the one hand, you want to use completely safe fillings. Because we cannot guarantee the safety of metal fillings, we do not offer them in our office. We replace metal fillings for our patients to ensure their safety.
Replacing your metal fillings also helps with the aesthetics of your smile. When you are smiling or open your mouth, anyone can see metal fillings because they stand out. While this may not be an issue for some, it is a point of contention for some patients. This issue may be especially difficult for patients if they work in a customer-facing industry or appear on camera often.
If you believe your metal fillings are seeping into your mouth, or if they have come loose, we invite you to visit us for a replacement. We will match the color of your new fillings to your teeth, and we can help remove unsightly metal fillings that will continue to cause trouble for many years to come.
How Can the Dentist Help?
When you need help from our team at My Emergency Dental, you can make an appointment via our website or call our office at 470-523-8118 for assistance. We are happy to offer a consultation and explain why your current fillings should be replaced or explain the types of tooth fillings currently available. We are located in Marietta, off Lower Roswell Road, and serve everyone in the Metro Atlanta area, including those in Roswell, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Alpharetta, and beyond.