At Lakeview Dental Clinic, we pride ourselves at practicing evidence based dentistry that is tailored to your needs. For dental fillings, there are two distinct types of restorations: 1) Silver/Amalgam fillings, or 2) Tooth Colored/Composite fillings.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Silver fillings:
The biggest advantage of silver filling is its tolerance to a wide range of clinical placement conditions. It also have bacteriostatic property that would inhibit the growth of bacteria. Studies have shown that large posterior restorations involving second surfaces have better longevity when compared to tooth colored fillings.
Silver fillings do have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split. Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums. Finally, some studies have shown that silver fillings can be a “wedge” that would cause tooth fractures.
If you have silver fillings, they can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Depending on what is treatment planned, tooth colored restorations can be direct or indirect.
Direct tooth colored restorations are placed right after the tooth is prepared with the decay removed. It has bonding effect to the existing tooth structure and it may help protect against tooth fractures when compared against traditional silver fillings. Because it’s bonded, less tooth structure needs to be removed in order to complete the restoration. Finally, It has the advantage of being tooth colored and thus more natural appearance.
Indirect restorations are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Restoration
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored onlays (if it’s a large amalgam restoration), or direct filled composite restoration. For the onlay, the process would require two appointments:
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!