If you’re over 30, you’re likely to have at least one silver spot in one of your molars. A silver amalgam filling. As their name implies, a filling is used to fill in the space where decayed tooth matter was removed. Since the 1800s the material of choice for fillings was silver amalgam.
That was then; this is now. At Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry, we only place composite resin fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings. Our patients from New York and Connecticut love the look of composite resin fillings (you cannot see them in the tooth), and they love that we’re not putting mercury and other metals in their teeth.
What is a tooth-colored filling?
Tooth-colored fillings are made with composite resin. Composite resin is a mix of plastic and glass, and the color can be selected to match the color of the natural tooth surface surrounding the filling very closely. This makes composite resin fillings virtually impossible to see when a person has his or her mouth open. This is a far cry from silver amalgam, which highly contrasts with your white teeth and is there for all to see. And, while you may have a few fillings, if they’re composite resin no one else will know.
How do tooth-colored fillings compare with silver amalgam fillings?
As the main filling material for almost 200 years, silver amalgam had quite a run. These fillings were long lasting and quite effective. People assume these fillings, because of their silver appearance, were made from, well, silver. Not so. Silver amalgam is made of a variety of metals, including traces of mercury. Most people no longer feel very good about placing mercury in their teeth. Plus, because amalgam is metal, it expands and contracts with hot and cold. Over time, this can create minute fractures in a tooth, weakening the tooth. This requires eventually replacing the filling as it begins to loosen and open the door for decay to form around the filling.
Composite resin fillings actually bond to the tooth surface. A tooth-colored filling pulls inward on the tooth, adding strength. Plus, when a dentist places a silver amalgam filling, he or she must remove more of the healthy tooth material to create room for the filling. Because composite resin bonds to the tooth, it is not necessary to remove the same amount of healthy tooth material. The most obvious advantage to tooth-colored fillings is just that — they are the same color as the tooth, so they are basically invisible.
Tooth-colored fillings have various advantages over amalgam
- Composite fillings match the color or your tooth enamel, so they blend perfectly and cannot be seen.
- Composite is metal- and mercury-free.
- The filling is bonded to the tooth, which pulls inward on the tooth’s periphery, making the tooth stronger.
- Tooth-colored fillings require less healthy tooth tissue to be removed.
If you have some tooth sensitivity it can be a sign of possible decay in a tooth. Or maybe you want to replace an old silver amalgam filling. Either scenario is perfect for a tooth-colored filling at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry. Call us at (914) 764-3540 to schedule an appointment.