According to American Dental Association, there is a decrease in the number of people having cavities as advancements in dentistry have made it easier for people to take care of their teeth better. Despite that people get cavities.
Have you recently discovered that you have cavities? There is nothing to worry about as the advancements in the technology have made it easier for the patients as well as the doctor to choose materials for filling the cavities.
Fillings are of different types and can be differentiated by their material and their complexity. The placement of the fillings also vary. Some are placed directly in the cavities while other fillings are indirect ones. In some cases, a custom filling is manufactured by taking an impression of the tooth.
The most chosen materials are metal amalgam and tooth-colored fillings that are resin-based composite materials. Earlier the material of choice for fillings in patients was always metal amalgam. However, now the dentist prefer using composite fillings to restore the shape and strength of a tooth.
What is a dental or metal amalgam?
Dental amalgams are also commonly known as silver fillings and are the oldest and classic option for restoration of a cavity. This filling contains a mixture of metals. Mercury makes up 50 percent of the composition and binds the other metals likes silver, copper, and tin. Mercury also helps in the manipulation. They are preferred for their long durability and their strength. They are highly resistant to wear and can withstand the chewing forces. They are also a less pricey option and are easier to work.
Amalgam has a few drawbacks which make it a lesser used material these days. Mercury that is a prime component of amalgam is harmful to health if consumed and can cause mercury toxicity. Amalgam is usually preferred for back teeth as they aren’t aesthetically pleasing and tend to get darker with time.
What are resin-based composite fillings?
Resin composite fillings are dental fillings made up of plastic and ceramic compounds. They are aesthetically pleasing and are used primarily in the front teeth. These dental fillings are used in teeth having cavities, fracture or cracks. It is also utilized in cosmetic dentistry for changing the color of teeth or correcting the shape of a disfigured tooth. Some of the main reasons for using composite fillings are
- Decayed teeth.
- Broken or cracked tooth.
- Worn teeth.
- Chipped teeth.
- Closing space between teeth (mostly the front teeth).
How are Composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are placed in only one sitting and is not a painful procedure usually.
- The dentist might numb your tooth using local anesthesia for a comfortable procedure.
- Thet decay in the tooth is removed using a suitable bur.
- The space made is then cleaned thoroughly.
- The composite restoration is then placed.
- It is shaped and polished according to the shape of the tooth to restore its function.
Advantages of Dental Composite
Dental composite has the following advantages over other materials:
- Appearance: Composite have an advantage of esthetics over the traditional amalgam filling. They match the true color of the teeth.
- Bonding to tooth: It bonds well with the tooth and hence is strong and durable.
- Versatility: It can be sued in a variety of cases like broken, chipped or worn tooth.
- Lack of mercury exposure: Unlike amalgam fillings, they do not contain mercury and hence are not hazardous to health.
- No corrosion: These type of fillings do not corrode at all as they do not contain metals.
Disadvantages of Dental composite
Dental composite has the following drawbacks:
- Shrinkage and secondary caries: There is a good chance of shrinkage in dental composite fillings if not cured properly. It increases the chance of leakage and secondary caries.
- Chipping: These fillings are known to chip easily as compared to amalgam fillings.
- The skill required: It requires more skill and experience in placing and manipulating a dental composite.
- Expense: It is a more expensive choice of restoration as compared to the traditional metal amalgam filling.
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Middletown Dentist, Dr. Roman Fedorciw recommends that if a dental restoration is required, you should visit your dentist soon as he/she will guide you through the choice of fillings according to the size and the location of the cavity as well as your cosmetic concerns and the cost preferences.