Despite your best efforts, there’s a decent chance you will need a filling at some time in your life. No matter how carefully you brush or how often you floss, cavities can still occur. Getting a tooth filled is one of the most common oral health care procedures.
A filling is treatment to fill in the damaged space in a tooth to prevent further breaking or decay. Fillings are used to treat cavities. A good indication that you have a cavity is tooth pain, especially when the teeth are exposed to cold foods or liquids. Untreated cavities can lead to further tooth decay, and more difficult oral health issues.
Traditionally, fillings were composed of an amalgam silver alloy that are noticeable every time you open your mouth. Most patients today prefer metal-free fillings made out of porcelain or resin materials due to their natural appearance – these fillings are undetectable.
In the past, metal fillings were the only way to fill a cavity and stop the decay of a tooth. Metal fillings were created by a mixture of silver and mercury alloys. These metals tended to expand and contract with changes in temperature, often leading to tooth damage or breakage. Not only were metal fillings troublesome, the dark color of the dental work is not aesthetically pleasing. Every time you open your mouth, your metal fillings are a glaring reminder of past dental work.
Dr. Miranda uses metal-free fillings. This is because metal-free fillings are safer and look better. Non-metal fillings don’t expand and contract with temperature changes and are colored to blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. Dr. Miranda uses special composite filling materials that look exactly like the enamel of your natural teeth, and are safer, stronger, and last longer than old fashioned metal alloy fillings.
There are many reasons why your dentist may prefer porcelain and composite fillings to the traditional silver and mercury alloy. Here are some reasons:
Porcelain and composite fillings can last a lifetime
They do not contain mercury (a toxic substance commonly found in metal fillings)
They bond with tooth for added strength and stability
They can be color matched to your teeth
They are better sealant, helping more effectively reduce tooth decay
They are less sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
The process of filling a tooth with a metal-free composite has several steps. First, the decayed portion of the tooth is removed and placed in a mild acid solution to etch tooth surfaces. This helps the composite filling bond to the remaining tooth structure. Then, the composite is placed in the cavity in layers, using a curing light to harden each layer. Your bite is then tested to make sure opposing teeth meet together perfectly.
Metal-free fillings not only act like natural teeth, they can be cared the same way you would care for natural teeth. Daily brushing and flossing will help maintain your metal-free fillings for years. However, Dr. Miranda recommends using alcohol-free mouth rinses because alcohol is acidic and may soften composite filling material over the years. Regular dental check-ups every six months will help you maintain metal-free fillings and maintain your overall oral health.