MAKE OVER YOUR SMILE BY SWAPPING OUT YOUR OLD SILVER FILLINGS
First used in the 1800s, metal fillings were the best treatment for cavities. While better than previous options, metal fillings still had lots of problems. Although many people worry about mercury poising from their fillings, the unattractive appearance of silver fillings is the main reason most people in Austin, TX want to get rid of their old fillings. To improve the health and appearance of your smile, Meadows Dental Care replaces metal fillings with modern tooth-colored fillings. This is one of the many cosmetic dentistry treatments our skilled team of dental professionals perform. Replacing silver fillings with composite resin can be performed alone or along with other treatments, like professional teeth whitening or porcelain veneers, for a total smile makeover. If you're concerned about your silver fillings, read on to learn about the problems with amalgam fillings, the advantages of tooth-colored fillings, and how to replace your old fillings for a better-looking smile.
WHAT IS AN AMALGAM FILLING?
A silver filling is typically made with an amalgam (mixture) of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, copper, zinc, and more. Mercury is an important part of the amalgam since it makes the filling pliable so it can fit into the uneven texture of the tooth. Until recently, most people who had a cavity, received an amalgam filling to seal off the decayed area. However, there are now many concerns with this type of filling leading people to consider replacing them with modern composite resin fillings.
PROBLEMS WITH SILVER AMALGAM FILLINGS
- VISIBLE APPEARANCE
The most common reason people want to get their silver fillings replaced is that they don't like how they look. While metal fillings are typically on the back teeth, they can still be visible when you yawn or laugh with your mouth wide open.???????
- AMALGAM TATTOO
An amalgam tattoo occurs when the material seeps into the gums or tooth socket. While an amalgam tattoo is generally not a problem, it can cause an unattractive blue or gray stain on the gums.
- MORE PREPARATION
Before a metal filling can be placed, a large amount of enamel needs to be removed. This makes the tooth weaker and more susceptible to decay.???????
- MERCURY POISONING
When amalgam fillings were first used, the amount of mercury in the metal mix could be enough to cause mercury poisoning. However, this was quickly fixed and is very rarely a problem for modern patients.
- NOT SAFE DURING PREGNANCY
???????While mercury leaking from a filling is rare, it can happen and breach the placenta. To be safe, dentists do not use metal fillings when a patient is pregnant.
- WEAKER SEAL
Compared to composite resin, amalgam fillings do not bond as well with enamel. This allows bacteria to get under the filling and turn into another cavity or infection.???????
- ALLERGIES TO METAL
Some patients may discover that they are allergic to the metal used in their fillings. While rare, an allergic reaction to the mercury in amalgam fillings is possible.???????
WHAT IS A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING?
When you have a cavity, your dentist can use a tooth-colored filling to repair and strengthen the tooth. A tooth-colored filling is made from a composite resin material to seal the tooth after the decayed area has been removed. Shaded to match your natural teeth, a tooth-colored filling maintains the beautiful look of your smile.
ADVANTAGES OF TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS
- COSMETIC USES
In addition to being used as a filling for a cavity, composite resin can also be used as a cosmetic treatment. Known as bonding and contouring, the composite resin material is carefully applied to fill chips, cover discoloration, and decrease gaps.
With proper care, a tooth-colored filling can protect your tooth for a long time. During your oral exam, your dentist will check the condition of your filling and let you know if it needs to be re-done.
- BETTER SEAL
A minimal amount of enamel needs to be removed before a tooth-colored filling is placed. Compared to metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings adhere better to the enamel for a greater strength and protection.
- BETTER APPEARANCE
Since composite resin can be shaded to match your teeth, tooth-colored fillings can be used on both your front and back teeth for a seamless result. Tooth-colored fillings allow you to smile and laugh with confidence.
THE REPLACEMENT PROCESS
If you decide to replace your metal fillings, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Austin, TX to create your treatment plan. At Meadows Dental Care, we offer different levels of sedation dentistry to keep you calm and comfortable during your procedure, even if you have dental fears and anxieties. After your mouth is numbed with local anesthesia and any sedation methods have been administered, a high-powered suction device and other special tools are used to remove the old metal filling(s). Next, your enamel is thoroughly cleaned and dried before the composite resin is applied. The filling is then set with a light before it is polished for a smooth finish. Before you leave, your dentist will talk to you about caring for you new tooth-colored filling(s). To avoid new fillings and other dental problems, you should establish a good home oral care routine with proper brushing and flossing at least twice a day. If you need help with technique or you want product recommendations, please ask our staff during your appointment. You should also schedule appointments at your dentist at least twice a year for an exam and professional cleanings. During your oral health exam, your dentist can check the health of your filling(s) to determine if they need to be replaced.
A BETTER-LOOKING SMILE
If you've still got silver fillings and you'd like to replace them, contact our office in Austin, TX. With an experienced staff of dental professionals, Meadows Dental Care can replace your old, metal fillings with modern tooth-colored fillings for a more attractive smile. We can also discuss other cosmetic dentistry treatments we offer that can be part of your custom smile makeover plan. We take pride in helping our Austin, TX patients get their healthiest and best-looking smile through advanced care and treatments.