Often a child’s first memory of the dentist is having their first cavity filled. It is happening to children earlier and earlier with no signs of slowing down! In fact, research shows that a vast majority (80%) or high school graduates are leaving high school with fillings already placed in their adult teeth.
We are not immuned to the problem of decay here in Carrollton, TX, we can assure you! Filling cavities is something we do day in and day out. Some patients have more fillings in their mouths than they have teeth (yes, it is possible).
With so many patients being affected on a regular basis by cavities, we wanted to take some time to talk about your options for restoration. Amalgam fillings are common and well-known, but are they the best option for you and your smile? Let’s find out!
What is Decay?
Decay is going to happen. Over time, you can expect to see decay in your teeth no matter how well you care for them because all of the elements to decay are probably already in your mouth!
Your mouth contains lots and lots of bacteria. When you eat food, that bacteria also eats food and produces an acid byproduct. So, let’s say that you have a piece of candy or starchy chips stuck in a crevice of your tooth. Bacteria will feed on that sugar, produce acid in a concentrated area, and that acid will then weaken your tooth enamel. With time, you will end up with a cavity.
How is it Stopped?
If you were to leave that cavity alone, it would continue to spread deeper and deeper into your tooth until it hit the dental pulp (creating the need for a root canal) or until your tooth is no longer viable.
We stop the spread of decay by using fillings. When we detect a small cavity (or a large cavity, if you haven’t been in for a while), we remove the decayed area of your tooth and fill the empty space with a filling material that will restore the function of your tooth.
The question of today is this: which type of filling do you want in your mouth?
The Popularity of Amalgam
Amalgam fillings are very popular because they have been used for over 150 years as a filling! The material is cheap, strong, and does the job well. However, there are some other problems with amalgam. The problems have caused so much concern that only about half of dentists still offer this option in their offices.
The Problems with Amalgam
Amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and other metals. Of course, there is concern for patients who have metal allergies. To be allergic to your own tooth is out of the question. Also, amalgam has no way to bond to your tooth, which means that over time, your filling will actually weaken the tooth around it causing the need for further restoration.
The biggest concern, however, is the mercury. Mercury is already in your body and in the environment, but it is very limited and highly toxic. To knowingly put that neurotoxin within inches of your brain is a situation that has many patients and dentist avoiding this solution completely!
A New Solution with Composite Resin
Luckily, there is a new solution on the table. Composite resin is a health-friendly alternative to amalgam fillings. It is made up of resin, plastic, glass, and other harmless materials. We actually use this material in all sorts of dental procedures, but it seems to really solve the problem for fillings best!
The Growing Popularity
Composite fillings have gained so much popularity that they are now available in almost every dental office in the country. A dentist might choose to also offer amalgam, but very few patients are still seeking that option.
The Powerful Results
Patients and dentists both love the results of composite fillings. They are color-matched, which means that they will blend in with the color of your teeth. They are also made of bonding material, which means that the filling itself will bond directly to your tooth to create a more stable filling. The fact that there are no harmful materials in the filling is definitely a bonus as well!
Learn More Today
Even with fantastic hygiene, we cannot promise that your last filling was your final filling. The next time you’re in need of a restoration in your tooth, remember to ask for composite material. It is safer, looks better, and feels great!
Contact us today to set up your next dental cleaning and exam. We would be happy to discuss your old fillings with you or to help you plan for future care. We can’t wait to see you!