Aesthetically and practically, there are many good reasons to consider tooth coloured fillings.
If you have had a tooth filled in the past, there is a very good chance that amalgam was used.
It is a very strong material which both lasts for a long time and will also withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is not without its drawbacks though, the most obvious one being the fact that it is dark in colour, and therefore highly visible.
There is also the fact that one of the metals used in amalgam is mercury. This is a very toxic substance in liquid form, but in a solid compound form, as in dental fillings, has been deemed to be safe for use by the General Dental Council. However, there is still a general agreement amongst dentists, that it will be phased out over a period of time.
The main alternative to amalgam fillings is the use of cosmetic white fillings, or tooth coloured fillings as they are also known. These contain no metals at all and are made from a mixture of glass particles and acrylic resin. They can be made in a shade that matches that of your natural tooth, rendering them virtually visible to the naked eye. Once thought to be inferior in strength to amalgam, white fillings have greatly improved and are usually appropriate for all but the largest cavities. Where these need to be filled, and where the patient wishes to avoid amalgam, inlays and onlays offer a strong and aesthetically pleasing solution.
Not just aesthetics
Whilst a white filling can blend in with your natural teeth and provide a nicer looking smile, it is not the only benefit. Few patients of our Wickford practice may realise that more of the natural tooth has to be removed when an amalgam fillings is used. This is because the cavity has to be shaped in a way that will retain the amalgam after it has been placed. In contrast, because a white filling bonds to the natural tooth, less of it needs to be removed.
Amalgam also shrinks in size over a period of time. As it does this, it creates tiny gaps around the edges between the filling and the tooth. These tiny spaces are still big enough for bacteria to enter though, and further tooth decay may follow.
As you can see, there are a number of significant advantages of having white fillings over amalgam ones. If you need a filling and would like to have these, please discuss this with the dentist at the Cygnet Dental Practice. If you already have amalgam fillings and would like to discuss the possibility of having them removed and replaced with a glass/acrylic resin ones, please contact our Wickford dental surgery on 01268 733078 to arrange an appointment.