Until the early 1990s, silver fillings were the treatment method of choice when a dentist needed to preserve a tooth that showed signs of decay. Also referred to as mercury fillings or amalgam fillings, dentists have used silver filling material on cavities for more than 150 years. It wasn’t until patients began to express concern amount mercury exposure almost 30 years ago that dental researchers came up with the alternative of composite resin filling material. Dr. Bahar Nia, your Buckhead dentist, now uses this tooth-colored dental fillings material exclusively for the many benefits it provides.
How Do Silver Fillings Work?
When you received a silver filling, your dentist drilled the affected area on your tooth to remove its decayed portion. Next, he or she shaped the tooth to place the amalgam material. Before placing the filling material on your tooth, your dentist mixed its powdered alloy substance with metal to form putty. The putty expanded and settled after your dentist placed it on your tooth.
Placing silver filling material on a tooth can be similar to filling a pothole. It takes care of the issue on the surface, but the underlying structural damage still remains. However, dentists and patients did not realize that at the time. Many people who received silver fillings as children are now middle-aged adults looking for a better alternative for tooth preservation.
Potential Problems with Silver Fillings
Because your dentist manually packed filling material on your teeth, the metal can eventually wear away. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of this happening until they discover that they have developed secondary tooth decay. Another problem with having mercury fillings for many years is that the material can expand in response to the hot or cold foods and drinks that you consume. Not only does this cause uncomfortable tooth sensitivity, it can cause small fractures to develop on the tooth. If a tooth fractures, you will need to speak to your Buckhead dentist about a restorative dentistry procedure such as a crown.
After having silver fillings in your mouth for many years, a small possibility exists that part of the mercury could break off and get into your bloodstream through your saliva. Although the risk is small, having your Buckhead dentist replace old silver fillings with those made from composite resin can provide you with valuable peace of mind.
Silver fillings are an old technology with limited benefits today. In fact, this technology is so old that people were receiving silver fillings at the time when Elvis was still a young singer playing on stage. For all of these reasons, your Buckhead dentist, Dr. Bahar Nia, recommends that you replace your old silver fillings to benefit your oral health.
The Benefits of Composite Fillings
Of all the differences between silver fillings and composite fillings, the fact that the latter bond to your teeth rather than being packed into your teeth is perhaps the most important. The bonding process strengthens your teeth and eliminates the high risk of secondary decay due to cracks and fractures. With composite resin material, your filling and tooth work together and not against each other as can sometimes happen with silver fillings.
Composite resin filling material also offers an important aesthetic benefit. In fact, some people refer to them as tooth-colored fillings because your Buckhead dentist uses the filling material that is as close to the color of your other teeth as possible. Between the coloring and the bonding, you can completely disguise the fact that you had any work performed on a tooth at all.
Contact Buckhead Dentistry to Learn More About Replacing Your Silver Fillings
We understand that you need to consider factors such as comfort, aesthetics, your budget, and more when deciding whether to replace your old dental fillings. We invite you to contact Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at 404-400-0400 to request a consultation with Dr. Bahar Nia. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the filling replacement process as well as see photos of the difference it has made for other patients. Our team looks forward to your visit.