Types of Tooth Fillings
Dr. Vard works with two main types of filling material.
- One type is white in colour, called a Composite material.
- The other type is silver in colour, called an Amalgam material.
Advantages of Composite material in Tooth Fillings:
- Colour. Dr. Vard can match the colour of composite fillings very closely to the color of existing teeth.
- Tooth support. As part of the process, Dr. Vard will micro-mechanically bond the filling to the tooths structure. This bonding process creates a support layer for the tooth.
- Versatile. It’s versatility means that the Composite material can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
- Less impact on tooth structure. Another big advantage of Composite fillings is that usually, less tooth structure is removed compared to preparing for amalgam fillings.
- Composite material is more eco friendly than amalgam material.
Disadvantages of Composite material:
- Durability. Composite fillings can wear out quicker than amalgam fillings.
- Patients’ time in dental chair. Because the process to fill a tooth with composite material takes longer than the process of filling a tooth with amalgam material, our patients will spend more time in our dental chair.
- Cost. Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
Advantage of Amalgam material in Tooth Fillings:
- Durability. Usually Amalgam fillings will last, at least 10 to 15 years.
- Cost. Amalgam fillings are less expensive than Composite fillings.
Disadvantages of Amalgam material:
- Colour. A big disadvantage of Amalgam fillings is that they don’t match the color of natural teeth.
- Destruction of more tooth structure. Amalgam fillings need space! Because they need more space, quite often the healthy part of a tooth has to be removed.
- Discoloration. Because of their silver colour, they can create a grayish hue around the tooth.
- Amalgam material can expand and contract. In turn, this can lead to cracks and fractures in the tooth’s structure.
- Allergic Reaction. Approximately 1% of people, are allergic to the mercury in amalgam fillings.
- The mercury contained in the amalgam releases low levels of mercury. This mercury release is in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs.
The Process & Aftercare
To start, Dr. Vard will numb the area around the damaged tooth with a local anesthetic. Next, using the appropriate dental tools, Dr. Vard will remove the decay.
After removing the decay, Dr. Vard will prepare the cavity for the filling. This involves cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. Dr. Vard will complete several additional steps when using composite dental filling material. Finally, Dr. Vard will shape the filling material to the desired result, trim off any excess material and polish the tooth.
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices:
- Visit us regularly, twice a year is best.
- Brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Floss at least once daily.
The use of mercury in dental fillings is being phased out. This move is part of the Government’s adherence to the Minamata Convention, which is a United Nations agreement dating from 2013. The aim of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by reducing, or eliminating altogether, the use of mercury.
So now, Dr. Vard, and dentists in general, no longer use silver, mercury fillings, in the teeth of;
- children under the age of 15,
- or of pregnant or breastfeeding women.
A Note for Medical card patients. Apart from the above categories, dentists are only permitted to use amalgam fillings in the back teeth of patients who are availing of their medical card dental benefits.
We will take you through the pros and cons of each filling type in detail. This detail will help you to make your decision based on your:
- eco views.
- teeth colour preferences.
- views of mercury.