Restoring Worn FillingsA dental filling (also called a "dental restoration") is intended to replace tooth structure lost to decay. Dental fillings may last many years; however, eventually all fillings need to be replaced. Constant wear from eating and drinking, or stress from clenching or grinding, eventually may cause a filling to fail.
Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is worn, your dentist can identify any weaknesses in it during your regular examination. Dental x-rays are also taken to help detect decay under existing fillings or between teeth, neither of which can be seen by the naked eye. Do not wait until the tooth hurts or a crack appears in the filling of the tooth to get it taken care of! Early detection and treatment can minimize the need for extensive and costly procedures.
Amalgam fillings (silver fillings) have been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. However, it's composed mixture of mercury, silver, copper and tin content has raised safety concerns. Small amounts of mercury vapor can be released from amalgam during placement and regular brushing. Advances in modern dental materials and techniques have offered new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking and safer smiles, steering away from amalgam.
The Benefit of Composite FillingsComposite fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glass-like particles that produce a tooth-colored restoration. Composite fillings provide durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid-sized restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed in a smaller filling than that of amalgam. Composites can also be "bonded" or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.