Cavities can be a huge pain as they leave a displeasing appearance on the smile and put the teeth at risk. Cavities are most often caused by the accumulated plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth that release harmful acids. This gradually erodes the enamel and leaves hole-like pits on the surface of the tooth which is filled with harmful microbes.
For many years now, fillings are being used to restore teeth that are affected by cavities. A few years ago, metals such as gold, silver, and amalgam were being used as fillings. However, due to their drawbacks, most dental practices have stopped their usage and instead, mercury-free fillings are being preferred.
What are mercury-free fillings?
As the name suggests, fillings that are free of mercury (amalgam) are called mercury-free fillings. They are most often made from ceramic or composite, which is why they are referred to as tooth-colored fillings. Their appearance can be perfectly mimicked with that of the tooth enamel, which makes them indistinguishable when applied on to the teeth. Moreover, they aren’t toxic to the human body as in the case of amalgam fillings.
Why replace amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings are toxic in nature. They could cause infections and put the entire tooth at risk.
Since amalgam fillings are metallic in nature, their coefficient of expansion would be different from that of the enamel. Meaning, whenever any hot or cold food comes in contact with the filling, it could expand or contract too much and crack the tooth.
Mercury fillings leave a displeasing appearance on the teeth as they are greyish or metallic in appearance. Anyone who sees you smiles or talk could easily notice them.
Why should you choose tooth-colored fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are biocompatible. They wouldn’t damage the natural tissues of the tooth and would perfectly blend in.
Their expansion and contraction rates are quite similar to those of the enamel. Hence, they wouldn’t damage the teeth when you eat hot or cold foods.
They offer excellent sealing properties. The chances of the cavity undergoing reinfection are next to none.
They can be applied on to the cavity and molded into any contour required. This way, they perfectly restore the shape of the decayed tooth.
Most importantly, their color, texture, and translucency can be matched with that of the teeth. They aren’t easily noticeable and would restore the aesthetics of the tooth to perfection.
How are fillings applied?
During the initial visit, the dentist would visually screen the mouth to check for cavities and determine their severity. Based on a few affecting factors, the candidacy for the fillings will be decided. The decay will be removed from the tooth and the walls of the cavity will be scrubbed thoroughly to get rid of the microbes. The debris will be washed away using a jet of water.
A rubber dam will be placed on the teeth to prevent the intervention of saliva with the procedure. The color of the filling will be matched with the enamel and kept aside. An etching solution will be applied to the cavity to roughen it. The filling will be applied and shaped according to the contour required. A curing light will be used to harden it. After a bite test, the filling may be trimmed to offer fit and comfort. Finally, it will be polished to enhance its aesthetics.
Call us at (707) 552-4110 for Vallejo, CA, (925) 825-1081 for Concord, CA or schedule an online appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Salaveria at our practice.