Hearing from your dentist that you have a cavity is never good news. However, thanks to the advancements in dentistry, there are several solutions available for repairing the affected tooth. Most of our patients already heard of composite fillings and silver amalgam fillings, but struggle with deciding which ones are better.
Here at North Pointe Dental Associates, we specialize in general and cosmetic dentistry. We offer typical dental services like dental implants, extractions, dental bonding, dental crowns, Invisalign, and teeth whitening. Today we are discussing dental fillings, so read on to find out everything you need to know about choosing the best option for you.
Cavities are normal
Even though it is possible to go through your life without ever developing a single cavity, chances are you will need dental fillings at one point or another. In fact, it is calculated that some 90% of people in the United States aged 20 to 64 years developed at least one cavity. It is also estimated that 96% of Americans older than 65 have developed at least one cavity.
Plaque occurs naturally and forms on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria it contains accumulate and create an acidic byproduct that can erode the enamel. If left untreated, the cavity can penetrate the root of the tooth. This is when the patients will need root canal therapy or tooth extraction.
The dental filling is used to replace the decay in the tooth enamel in order to stop the decay from spreading and to restore the tooth’s appearance, function, and strength.
What you need to know about silver amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are made from a variety of metals, such as silver, mercury, zinc, and copper. These are often more affordable and can last for a longer period of time – up to 15 years. Their major drawback is the presence of mercury which patients can be sensitive or allergic to. Another drawback is their appearance – they are more noticeable and can make the tooth appear darker over time.
Composite fillings explained
Composite fillings, also known as composite resin fillings, are a much more visually appealing solution. They can be prepared to perfectly match the color of the tooth they are used to restore. This means the restoration becomes practically unnoticeable, and they are made from a combination of acrylic and ceramic without any mercury. This solution also requires less tooth enamel to be removed, allowing your dentist to preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
Composite fillings have not been used for as long as the silver amalgam fillings and as a newer type of treatment, can be slightly more expensive. Because they contain no metals, they can be less durable, which means their lifespan varies between 7 and 10 years.
Need more help deciding which type of filling is best for you?
North Pointe Dental Associates is home to some of the best dentists in Tampa willing to answer all your questions and concerns regarding dental fillings. Call us at (813) 961-1727 today and schedule your next dental appointment and our friendly staff will be more than happy to discuss all of your dental needs.