If it has been a while, think 15 or more years, since you have needed a filling, you may be surprised to discover that a lot has changed. No longer do dentists use unsightly silver amalgam fillings. Instead, a natural tooth-colored composite resin is used. Why the change?
Every dentist has his or her own reasoning for making the switch from amalgam to composite resin. Here at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, Florida we had a number of reasons ranging from a concern for your health to cosmetic reasons why we made the switch. We will explain some of those reasons to you.
Composite Resin Fillings Look Like Natural Teeth
Amalgam fillings were strong and sturdy, but they weren’t aesthetically pleasing. If you needed to get an amalgam filling, you were left with a giant, unsightly silver piece of metal in your mouth. That hardly looked natural which is why composite resin fillings are used.
Composite resin fillings are just as strong as amalgam fillings, but they look natural. In fact, you could have multiple fillings placed in your front teeth and no one would know whether or not you have natural teeth or ones with fillings.
Composite Resin Fillings Do Not Damage the Teeth
Damage to the tooth with a cavity and even surrounding teeth is extremely common with amalgam fillings. Damage occurs because the filling material of an amalgam filling is made of metal. Over time as the metal is exposed to different temperatures, it will expand and contract which causes cracks to appear on the tooth and the surrounding teeth.
A cracked tooth can cause pain and be extremely susceptible to tooth decay. In an effort to protect patient’s future dental health and avoid damaging teeth, dentists made the switch to composite resin fillings.
Composite resin fillings do not expand and contract. This means the tooth in need of a filling and surrounding teeth don’t experience any damage.
Composite Resin Fillings Require Fewer Appointments
Putting in amalgam fillings was a complex process that took a lot of time. Since there was so much involved, it often required dentists to schedule two appointments. This was a costly, not to mention time-consuming process. Luckily, composite resin fillings can be done faster.
Composite resin fillings can be completed in just a few minutes depending upon how much tooth decay is present. The entire filling is placed and set in one visit which helps save time for the patient and allows dentists to free of office space for other patients.
Fewer Restrictions with Composite Resin Fillings
Once an amalgam filling was placed you were often given a list of instructions with things you could or could not do. That list included foods you had to avoid for several days, how to floss and brush around the filling, and other restrictions. Dentists switched to composite fillings because there are practically no restrictions.
After a composite resin filling is placed, there are virtually no restrictions. Patients can eat whatever they want. They may need to wait until the Novocain wears off, but they don’t have to follow strict instructions like with amalgam fillings.
Other Reasons for Switching to Composite Resin Fillings
Some of the other reasons why we made the switch from amalgam fillings to composite resin fillings include:
Less staining – amalgam fillings often would leak which caused the tooth and nearby teeth to develop a black or brown color that couldn’t be removed
Less drilling – composite feelings can be placed without requiring your dentist to drill into the healthy portions of your teeth. This was something that had to be done with amalgam fillings.
Healthier – many people believe amalgam fillings can cause you to be exposed to high amounts of mercury which can result in numerous health problems. Composite resin fillings do not have this type of risk.
Sealants can be applied with composite resin fillings – a patient can have a composite resin filling placed and have sealants applied to their teeth all in the same visit. With amalgam fillings this had to be done in two separate visits.
Have additional questions about composite resin fillings? Feel free to call our office. We will gladly answer any questions you have about composite fillings.