Fillings & Sealants
Composite vs. Amalgam
Composite fillings are a resin based, tooth colored filling. Basically, its a hard plastic and is is used to restore teeth in all areas of the mouth, not just front teeth. It is just as strong as Amalgam and has a long track record of clinical success. They are the standard of care in dentistry today. At Advanced Family Dentistry (AFD) we only use composites.
Amalgam fillings or silver fillings are made up of different metals, which include mercury in trace amounts. They are safe and long lasting, however we are seeing a strong prevalence of cracked teeth in patients that have had them for a long period of time. Those cracks can spread to the nerve, causing the need for a root canal or they can spread to the root, causing tooth loss. Most of the time we are just seeing teeth completely fracture and resulting in the need for a crown. We do not use Amalgam at AFD.
Why do I need a filling?
- There is a cavity in your tooth
- The tooth has fractured or chipped
- There are cupped out areas on your root
- To bond teeth together for stability
- To bond orthodontic brackets or wires
- To replace lost tooth structure
- The filling procedure starts with removing the decayed tooth structure along with any existing filling material. This is called prepping the tooth.
- Etching & bonding the tooth surface prepares the tooth for the composite filling material. This is basically how we clean the tooth and bond it to the filling.
- Next we place the composite filling material into the tooth in small increments. The composite comes out soft so we can mold it to the tooth. After each increment we shine a bright blue light to harden the filling material.
- Shaping and removing any excess filling material.
- Adjusting the bite and polishing the filling.
When might a filling not work?
- When there is more filling material then actual tooth it is time to think about a crown
- When there is a heavy fracture line that is darkening the tooth is at risk to break
- When the way the teeth bite and slide against each other could break the filling. This happens sometimes with front teeth
- The lifespan of fillings on the incisal edge of front teeth is not as good as say placing a veneer or crown, but sometimes it is required to help protect the tooth until the tooth can be fixed more permanently