Dentists have used metal fillings to fill cavities for years, but metal fillings come with several problems, one of which is they contain mercury. The amount of mercury in fillings may not be enough to cause harm to an individual, but the use of mercury fillings also causes some concerns for our environment. In addition, most people who have mercury fillings will experience a painful sensation that is caused by a metal-on-metal effect when two fillings or a filling and an eating utensil make contact. Metal fillings also cause a cosmetic concern if they are used on teeth near the front of the mouth. Fortunately, a non-metal, mercury-free alternative exists, and it eliminates all of these concerns.
Mercury and different metals are amalgamated, or mixed, to create metal fillings. Dentists call them amalgam fillings. Amalgam-free dental fillings contain no metals and no mercury. They are made of composite resin, which is the same type of material that is used for cosmetic bonding and composite veneers. Sometimes these are called white fillings or tooth-colored fillings. They can be made to match the color of your teeth so that they look completely natural.
Tooth-colored fillings eliminate the cosmetic problems of silver-colored metal fillings, and they do not cause the painful metal-on-metal effect. The absence of mercury in these fillings makes them completely non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
While tooth-colored fillings are said to wear down more easily than metal fillings, metal fillings are more likely to simply fall out than tooth-colored fillings. This is because metal fillings are placed in a cavity but do not bond to the tooth the way that tooth-colored resin fillings do. Metal fillings also have a minimum size, which means that if a cavity is smaller than the filling, the cavity actually has to be enlarged by the dentist to make room for the filling. This is not necessary with tooth-colored fillings.
If you would like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings, call our Leesburg office for a consultation. Dr. Aman can discuss filling options with you and help you to make a decision on which type of filling is right for you.