Why You May Not See the True Value of Tooth-Colored Fillings


Dental Fillings in Houston, TXThe need for reliable restorations has not decreased as we have made progress in preventive dentistry. In Royal Dental offices throughout the Houston area, our knowledgable staff offers several ways to avoid dental disease. From early childhood dental care to routine cleanings to specific treatments such as dental sealants, we focus as much as we can on helping patients keep their natural teeth healthy for life. Because we understand that there are times when problems like cavities may arise, we have also armed ourselves with the latest restorative methods. The tooth-colored filling is one of them.

Because It Looks Like a Tooth

If we were to ask you why a tooth-colored filling is nice to have, you might say something like “because it looks like a tooth.” This is true, and it is one of the primary reasons why patients appreciate this filling. The availability of a filling that looks like a tooth demonstrates how far we have come since the early days of formal dentistry.

The first fillings to be used were made of gold. Nice! In fact, gold was a very nice option because this metal was one of the only that was capable of a long-lasting fit in dental enamel. The problem was, gold was expensive. As an alternative, dental amalgam was developed. This type of filling was called a “silver filling” then and still is today. But it’s not just silver that is in an amalgam; there is also copper, tin, and elemental mercury. Remember how we said that gold fillings were valuable because they could fit will in enamel? Amalgam isn’t quite as good at this.

When metal gets hot, it naturally swells. When we chew, friction is created between teeth, so, where there are fillings, they will get hot. If the filling is made of amalgam, it will also swell. This isn’t good for the long-term health of the tooth. Metal that swells when hot then shrinks when it is cooled. This is the problem with dental amalgam. A filling needs to maintain tight margins to keep bacteria out. The frequent swelling and shrinking of amalgam can degrade margins, making the tooth vulnerable to further decay.

Tooth-colored fillings look good; that’s true. They also restore a high degree of strength to teeth because they can be bonded to enamel and because their margins remain intact even when heating and cooling occurs.

Our interest lies in helping you and your family enjoy healthy, attractive smiles for life. To schedule a visit to an office near you, call (713) 330-7700.

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