Posts for tag: fillings
In an ideal world, you would not need dental fillings. But cavities do happen, and treating them early is very important to avoid even more concerning complications. The problem for some is the unsightly silver of traditional fillings. The solution is tooth-colored fillings available at Arbor Hills Dental. So contact Dr. Angela Toy, your family dentist in Newberg, OR, to find out if they're right for you.
Unsightly Silver Fillings
Although silver in appearance, and often referred to as such, traditional fillings are actually made of amalgam. An alloy of mercury, silver, tin, and copper.
The mixture of mercury with the other metals makes it safe and stable. It's been in use for generations and remains a popular choice because it's the least expensive choice and because of its durability.
Its only downside, besides the very visible sign that you've had cavities filled, is that more drilling needs to be made to the tooth than with the alternative.
White of color, and able to be matched to the shade of your own teeth, composite is a now common alternative to amalgam fillings.
Composite resin is made of a mixture of plastic and glass and is often used, apart from fillings, to restore and reshape teeth that have been cracked or chipped.
This is possible because of the composite bonds directly to the enamel. Making the filling very strong and durable, and with modern materials, almost as lasting as amalgam fillings.
Tooth-Colored Fillings in Newberg, OR
Caring for your composite fillings is as simple, and as important as caring for your natural teeth. So to prevent repairs or future cavities, brush twice daily and floss once a day, steer clear of sugary drinks and foods and see your dentist on a regular basis. For exams and cleanings.
So don't delay, to make an appointment with Dr. Toy of Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, OR, dial (503) 538-2143.
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”
Recently, a number of new filling materials that mimic tooth color have come into popular use and, so far, have proven more durable than past versions. Even so, the traditional metal-based dental amalgam remains a viable choice, especially for less visible back teeth and their higher biting forces.
Used for more than a century, dental amalgam is a metal alloy composed of silver, mercury, tin and copper. The mixture is carefully proportioned so that potentially hazardous mercury is kept to a minimum and bonded with the other metals. Amalgam in its initial form is quite pliable so that it can be molded into the tooth structure under repair. Afterward it sets hard to form a durable filling that can withstand the daily force generated when we bite and chew food.
Besides durability, dental amalgam rarely causes an allergic reaction in a patient, and it’s easy for trained dentists to apply. On the downside, however, it can cause temporary temperature sensitivity in the tooth just after filling, and the tooth itself may require some removal of healthy structure to help keep the filling in place. And from an aesthetic point of view, its metallic appearance is considered unattractive especially for front teeth.
The presence of mercury in amalgam has also raised concerns over the years. “Free” mercury — atoms that escape through vapor emitted by the metal — can enter the bloodstream and potentially harm the nervous system. But after extensive study and research, U.S. and international health bodies including the American Dental Association have concluded any free mercury released during chewing is extremely low and well below any harmful levels. These studies have also found no ill effects in either children or adults with dental amalgam fillings.
Deciding on the type of filling material to use — dental amalgam or a newer composite resin, resin ionomer or glass ionomer — depends on a number of factors including the location of the teeth to be filled, the extent of decay and your personal preferences. Taking these into account, we’ll be happy to discuss which type of filling will suit you best for repairing decayed teeth.
If you would like more information on filling material options including dental amalgam, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”