Cavities can be a huge concern as they leave a displeasing appearance on the smile and put the teeth at risk. Cavities are most often caused by the accumulated plaque and tartar on the teeth' surface that releases harmful acids. This gradually erodes the enamel and leaves hole-like pits on the tooth's surface, filled with harmful microbes and decayed matter.
For many years now, fillings are being used to restore teeth that are affected by cavities. A few years ago, metals such as gold, silver, and amalgam were used as fillings. However, due to their drawbacks, most dental practices have stopped their usage, and instead, mercury-free, cosmetic dental fillings are being preferred.
What are mercury-free fillings?
As the name suggests, fillings that are free of mercury (amalgam) are called mercury-free fillings. They are most often made from ceramic or composite, so they are referred to as tooth-colored fillings. Their appearance can be perfectly mimicked with the natural enamel, making them indistinguishable when applied to the cavity. Moreover, they aren't toxic to the human body, as in the case of amalgam fillings.
Why replace amalgam fillings?
- Amalgam fillings are toxic. They could cause infections and put the entire tooth at risk.
- Since amalgam fillings are metallic, their rate of expansion would be different from that of the enamel. Meaning, whenever any hot or cold food comes in contact with the filling, it could expand or contract too much and crack the tooth.
- Mercury fillings leave a displeasing appearance on the teeth as they are greyish or metallic in appearance. Anyone who sees you smiling or talking could easily notice them.
Why should you choose tooth-colored fillings?
- Tooth-colored fillings are biocompatible. They wouldn't damage the natural tissues of the tooth and would perfectly blend in.
- Their expansion and contraction rates are quite similar to those of the enamel. Hence, they wouldn't damage the teeth when you eat hot or cold foods.
- They offer excellent sealing properties. The chances of the cavity undergoing reinfection are next to none.
- They can be applied to the cavity and molded into any contour required. This way, they perfectly restore the shape of the decayed tooth.
- Most importantly, their color, texture, and translucency can be matched with that of the teeth. They aren't readily noticeable and would restore the aesthetics of the tooth to perfection.
How are fillings applied?
During the initial visit, the dentist would visually screen the mouth to check for cavities and determine their severity. Based on a few affecting factors, the candidacy for the fillings will be decided. The decay will be removed from the tooth, and the walls of the cavity will be scrubbed thoroughly to remove the microbes. The debris will be washed away using a jet of water.
A rubber dam will be placed on the teeth to prevent the intervention of saliva with the procedure. The color of the filling will be matched with the enamel and kept aside. An etching solution will be applied to the cavity to roughen it. The filling will be applied and shaped according to the contour required, after which a curing light is used to harden it. After a bite test, the filling may be trimmed to offer perfect fit and comfort. Finally, it will be polished to enhance its aesthetics.
Please get in touch with us through online consultation or by calling us at (775) 882-0635, and we'll assist you further.