Looks matter, especially when it comes to your teeth and your smile. Although cavities are a direct challenge to maintaining your award-winning smile, they don’t have to be a permanent barrier to having a great looking grin.
In years past, most cavities were filled with various metals; fillingswere made out of tin, copper, mercury, zinc and silver. Known as amalgam, this was the standard for many years. It was cost-effective but came at the cost of unsightly silver on a person’s teeth. Drawbacks using amalgam were generally minor, with a few people reporting sensitivity to metals that were used to fill the cavities.
However, with the advancement of dental technology, tooth colored fillings have emerged as the preferred choice to fill cavities. The tooth colored fillings are made of a strong composite resin that is a mixture of glass particles and plastic. Dentists are able to blend colors so that the composite filling can be an exact match to a person’s existing teeth. And that means a person can retain their beautiful smile for many years to come.
Another advantage of composite fillings over amalgam is that composite materials actually bond to a person’s teeth. Amalgam, while strong and durable, does not have the properties that allow it to bond to a person’s teeth. It rests in the hole drilled out by the dentist and is packed in tightly to remain in place.
While there are some concerns that composite fillings can change color if a person drinks tea, coffee or other materials that will stain teeth, this can be offset by having the dentist put a clear plastic coating over the tooth when it is filled.
In some instances, composite fillings will also wear out faster than amalgam fillings, especially in larger cavities. Composites also tend to cost more, so a patient needs to weigh the benefits of having invisible fillings vs. the price and durability of using amalgam.
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