As trusted dentists, we often meet with patients who have questions about replacing their amalgam metal fillings with composites. Particularly, the questions we hear revolve around the safety of metal fillings, but many patients also seek out composite filling replacements because of how metal fillings affect the appearance of their smile.
We replace hundreds of metal amalgam fillings each year with natural-looking composite resins. Are you looking to improve the appearance of your smile with tooth-colored fillings? Find out more about this option in this blog.
Are Metal Fillings Safe?
Metal fillings are often controversial because they contain small amounts of mercury, a heavy metal that can cause serious health problems if ingested or inhaled. However, there is no evidence that mercury exposure from dental fillings causes any adverse health effects on humans. In fact, most studies show that mercury levels in saliva and blood remain below safe limits after receiving this type of filling.
Metal fillings have been used for over 100 years and are still one of the most common types of dental restorations. They’ve been proven safe by the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world. The American Dental Association (ADA) has even published a position statement on metal fillings that says: “The ADA does not recommend removal of all or part of an existing restoration if it is intact and functioning properly.”
That said, it’s important to note that metal fillings do not completely bond with your tooth enamel, which means they can fail to function properly. This means that bacteria that cause tooth decay can get into the space between the filling and the tooth surface. If left untreated, these spaces can become infected and lead to serious oral health problems like abscesses, gum disease and tooth loss.
Metal Fillings and Your Smile’s Appearance
If you have metal fillings, you may be wondering why some people choose to replace them with composite ones. There are several reasons why you might want to consider removing your metal fillings. First, metal fillings don’t look as good as composite resin. Composite fillings are made up of tiny particles of glass that mimic the color and translucency of natural teeth. Because they look so much like real teeth, they blend seamlessly with your smile and make it appear whiter than before.
Second, metal amalgam fillings can affect the way light reflects off your teeth. When light hits a metallic filling, it bounces back at a different angle than when it strikes a tooth without a filling. This makes the area around your mouth appear darker than normal. You can see this effect in photos in many instances.
Metal fillings can also announce to everyone that you’ve had a cavity or two (or three). This can make many people feel self-conscious and hide their smiles.
What Are Composite Resin Fillings?
Composite resin fillings are made up of tiny glass particles mixed with a polymer matrix. These materials look similar to natural teeth and feel very much like them as well. Because of this, composite resin fillings are considered to be a great alternative to traditional metal fillings.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing because they match your tooth enamel, composite resin fillings provide excellent protection against future damage caused by cavities and tooth decay. And unlike metal fillings, they don’t require special preparation before placement.
While composite resin is generally less expensive than metal fillings, they cost slightly more than conventional porcelain crowns. But when compared to the costs associated with tooth extraction and replacement, composite resin fillings offer significant savings.
How Do I Replace My Metal Filling With A Composite Resin?
If you’re considering replacing your old metal fillings with a composite resin, you’ll need to schedule a consultation appointment at our office first. During this visit, we will thoroughly examine your mouth and determine whether you would benefit from having a new filling placed. The dentist may also perform additional tests such as X-rays or take digital impressions to ensure that your treated tooth is in good health.
Next, the dentist will remove your old filling using a drill and then place a temporary filling material in its place. Afterward, we will carefully prepare your tooth for the new filling. Then, we will apply a thin layer of bonding agent to the prepared area and gently press the composite resin filling onto the tooth. Finally, we will use a curing light to harden the composite resin filling and seal it securely in place.
Once the composite resin filling is fully hardened, you can brush and floss normally and eat anything you want without worrying about damaging your new filling. In fact, many patients find that their new composite resin filling feels just like their natural tooth!
Are There Any Advantages To Replacing Metal Fillings With Composite Resin?
Yes. One advantage of replacing your metal fillings with composite resin is that it provides superior protection against future damage caused by tooth decay. Unlike metal fillings, composite resin fillings won’t wear down over time and can last decades. They also don’t have sharp edges that could cut your gums or tongue if accidentally dislodged.
Another advantage of composite resin fillings is that they are easier to clean than metal ones. You simply brush and floss your teeth regularly, and any food debris that gets stuck between your teeth should easily come off the surface of your composite resin filling. If you notice an accumulation of plaque on your composite resin filling, you can use a dental pick to gently scrape away the buildup.
Finally, composite resin isn’t subject to corrosion or discoloration. This means that you won’t have to worry about staining your teeth while eating certain foods.
Want to replace your silver fillings with composite fillings? Call us now to schedule a consultation.