Dental fillings have been used to restore teeth for many, many years. In the past, silver fillings were carefully placed into teeth that were facing decay. The belief was that this silver filling would stop the decay of the affected tooth. It was also believed that the filling could stop decay from spreading to neighboring teeth as well. However, new studies suggest that silver fillings may really just be a temporary solution to tooth decay, rather than a cure. But, while silver fillings may not have been as effective in stopping tooth decay, new white fillings are the preference of dentists in today’s modern world. Read further as we discuss the new different kinds of fillings, and the older, silver fillings. And, whether any of these fillings actually make your teeth weak.
In the past, if a dental patient needed a filling, they would have received “silver” fillings or fillings made from gray metal amalgam. And, these silver amalgam fillings were touted as durable and affordable.
In fact, being strong and affordable became the silver amalgam fillings greatest advantages. Patients did not have to worry about damaging silver fillings by biting down on hard foods. This durability meant that silver fillings could last for years with proper care. And, silver fillings are easy to place in the patient’s mouth, which meant that they spent less time in the dentist chair.
But, silver fillings do not match the color of natural teeth, so some patients are hesitant to get them. And, a study conducted in Norway concluded that silver fillings do not keep decay away from neighboring teeth. In fact, the study showed that 40 percent of the people that participated in the study had further decay to the tooth with the silver filling, and to the neighboring teeth. These results suggest that unless the patient has good oral hygiene habits of regular brushing and flossing, poor dental hygiene will continue to cause tooth decay, even to teeth with silver fillings. And, some patients can develop a mercury allergy to the metal used for the filling. So, the bottom line is that silver fillings can be counterproductive if the patient does not address the reason for why the tooth decay started, with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
These days, many modern dentists also offer “white” fillings, or fillings made from composite resin. Composite resin is a mixture of powdered glass, and plastic. It looks closer to the natural appearance and color of a patient’s teeth. Composite fillings are used to improve the cosmetic appearance of a person’s natural teeth. The dentist prepares the resin and applies it to the patients teeth in layers. A curing light is used to set the resin, and once the hardening process is complete, the dentist shapes the composite to fit the patient’s tooth. Composite fillings fill the cavity and bond directly to the patients teeth. Because of this, the tooth and filling work together. This means that composite fillings do not make your teeth weaker, but they may make your teeth stronger.
Contact our professional dentists here in Fountain Hills for more information.