What really happens when you get a filling?
Never heard of Restorative Dentistry? If you answered no, what you don’t realise is that you have! Only they’re more commonly known as fillings.
When one of your teeth become damaged in any way, whether we’re talking about a crack, a hole or a segment of the tooth broken away, it will need to be restored. Your dentist will restore or rebuild your tooth as necessary using either amalgam or a composite material.
What’s involved in an Amalgam Restoration?
Before we get stuck into what an Amalgam Restoration actually is, let’s start by answering this question:
What is amalgam?
This strong metal is made up of silver, tin, copper, mercury and at times, other metal components. Why is amalgam a good selection?
- It’s strong and can withstand chewing.
- As it’s biocompatible, the body won’t reject it.
- Even though it’s silver (that’s because of the components that make up amalgam), it serves its purpose as amalgam is only used by dentists for back teeth.
Every now and again, one of our patients asks us: should I be concerned about the mercury component of an amalgam filling?
At this stage, there aren’t any studies to prove the minimal amount of mercury evident in amalgam has any adverse effect on your health. Professional organisations including the Australian Dental Association (ADA), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), all support the use of amalgam.
However, your dentist won’t suggest this amalgam for any visible restorations. In this case, your dentist will use composite material to restore your teeth.
What is a composite restoration?
A mixture of plastic material and tiny glass particles, the advantage of using composite is that it can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth. Of course, that makes all the difference when you flash the world with your bright smile.
Your NovaDental dentist will set or cure your composite using a special light. It’s this that bonds the composite to your tooth’s natural surface.
A few things we ask all of our patients to keep in mind when getting a composite restoration:
- While they are more versatile, composite isn’t as strong as amalgam.
- Composite is great for small cavities where less drilling is involved.
- It bonds strongly with the natural tooth.
- They’re an ideal solution for use on front teeth as it goes unnoticed.
At the end of the day, both amalgam and composite restorations each have their pros and cons. Your dentist will be able to recommend which is the way to go and be able to explain why.
It’s important to understand fillings will need to be replaced over time. Your restoration will last longer if you’re mindful of the need to look after your teeth.
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