Dental Tips Blog


The Best Kind of Dental Filling

Posted in Fillings

If you think you have a cavity that need to be filled, how do you choose the right type of restoration?

There are many different kinds of fillings – metal and white, large and small, varied shapes and techniques. Your options may seem overwhelming. The good news is that you can’t simply pick one and see how it goes. Not just any kind will do.

To find out the best kind of filling, you need to have your dentist check out the tooth. He or she will let you know which options you can choose from.

Three Common Filling Types:

Amalgam fillings are the most traditional dental restorations. These are also known as silver or metal fillings. This option is fast and economical, but some individuals are concerned over the trace mercury content in amalgam.

Composite or white fillings are also very strong and look the most natural. These restorations are great for repairing teeth that are visible when you smile.

Indirect fillings are designed outside of the mouth and later cemented into the prepared tooth like a piece in a puzzle. Also called an inlay or onlay, this type of restoration is usually made from a durable and beautiful material like ceramic.

Why Did My Dentist Recommend That?

When your dentist suggests a particular type of filling, his or her recommendation considers factors like:

  • Size, shape, and depth of the cavity
  • The location and size of the tooth
  • Cosmetic appearance
  • Your oral health in general
  • The presence of other dental restorations

You can make the final decision out of the options your dentist feels are safe for you. The next time your dentist recommends a filling, ask about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401


What Type of Filling Is the Best?

Posted in Fillings

There is no simple answer to that question and only a qualified dentist can make that determination based upon their experience and each patient’s unique situation.  In general dentists will opt to use either a amalagam or a composite material to fill a tooth after the decay has been removed.

Traditionally, dentists have used amalagam to fill cavities once the decay has been removed.  Amalagam is a mixture of several metal alloys including silver, tin, copper and mercury.  While the material performs well and is not harmful, it is also very visible.  Recent advances in dentistry have resulted in an entirely new class of composite dental fillings that are economical, very durable and are white in color, which results in natural appearing teeth no matter how many fillings a patient has!  Typically these composite fillings are made with a combination of glass or quartz and resin.

The choice of the filling material to be used should be discussed in detail with the dentist prior to the work being done.  Typically dentists prefer to use composite filings is areas where the filling could be visible.  In general, dentists are able to custom mix the composite material to closely match the tooth.  This results in a filling that virtually is invisible to the average person.

Some dentists still like to use the traditional amalagam fillings in the back molars, as they are usually withstand chewing better than the composite fillings.  However, dentists are using more and more composite fillings in these areas, often opting for a composite filling, when the amalagam filling fails.

While there is no one ideal filling type for every patient, composite fillings continue to grow in popularity.  The choice should be discussed with the dentist to determine the best selection for the individual patient.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Are Silver Fillings Safe?

Posted in Fillings

You may have heard stories about dental fillings being dangerous to you or your children, and wondered if you have a filling if you are at an increased risk for developing other diseases or injuries.  Unfortunately, there are many rumors that abound about fillings and filling material used to treat cavities, and many of these are simply not true.  This article will discuss silver fillings (commonly known as metal fillings or dental amalgram) and the safety of these types of fillings.

Dental amalgram fillings are silver in color, and are made by combining small amounts of many different types of metal.  One of the types of metal used in the dental fillings is mercury in a very small amount, and it is the mercury that has caused the controversy and concern through the years.

Mercury, when ingested alone, is dangerous to humans.  However, the mercury used in amalgram fillings containts other trace metals, including silver, tin and copper.  When elemental mercury is combined with other trace metals it is no longer dangerous to individuals.

Amalgram fillings have been extensively researched and continue to be used by dentist because of their strength, cost, and ease of use.  If you have an amalgram filling, you should know that there is no risk posed to you in this process.  Many organizations have researched this and determined that amalgram fillings are biocompatible.

If you have concerns about your dental fillings, talk to your dentist about this.  Until you can see your dentist, rest assured that the fillings in your mouth are not likely to hurt you, and are safe for use.  They do not need to be replaced or removed, and you will not suffer any ill consequences from them.

Posted on the behalf of Flat Creek Family Dentistry



Amalgam – A Dependable Choice For Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

For over 100 years, dentists have been using amalgam for filling dental cavities.  Amalgam is silver colored and is made from a mixture of tin, mercury and other metals.  In recent years, white composite fillings have become more popular because they are more aesthetically pleasing and eliminate concerns about the mercury in amalgam.  However, composite fillings have their own issues and amalgam is still an excellent choice for fillings in many situations.

Amalgam is the least expensive material for dental fillings.  The material itself costs less, amalgam fillings are relatively easy to place, and it takes less time for your dentist to place an amalgam filling.  These days, when many patients don’t have dental insurance coverage, the cost savings on amalgam fillings can really make a difference.

In addition, amalgam has a proven track record as a strong, durable dental filling material.  It can withstand the biting and chewing pressures exerted on the back teeth and can last 10 to 15 years or more with proper care.  Composites are getting stronger, but still have a ways to go before they can match the strength and durability of amalgam.

Some dental patients are concerned about the mercury in amalgam fillings.  These concerns have been around almost as long as amalgam fillings themselves, yet there is no scientific research to backup any claims of health hazards attributable to amalgam fillings.  In fact, all of the scientific data indicates that the level of exposure to the mercury in amalgam is so small that it poses no significant health risk.

Amalgam is still used by dentists every day and is an inexpensive and dependable choice for dental fillings.


You Have a Choice In Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

A dental cavity (also called dental caries) is a decayed area of a tooth caused by bacteria that produce acid which attacks the enamel of the tooth.  If you have a cavity, your dentist will repair the damaged tooth removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling the area with a dental filling.  Fillings can also be used to repair a chipped, cracked or broken tooth.

You have several options for the material used for your dental fillings.  Gold fillings were popular years ago, but gold is less frequently used these days for filling cavities because there are much less expensive and more effective alternatives such as amalgam and composite materials.

Amalgam is a silver colored material made of various metals including silver, tin, and mercury.  Amalgam is a strong, long lasting filling material.  It can withstand chewing pressure and lasts 15 to 20 years or more.  It is also the least expensive material used for dental fillings.  Many people do not like the aesthetics of amalgam fillings and more tooth material must be removed to place an amalgam filling.  They are held in place through pressure and friction and do not add to the structural integrity of the tooth like composite fillings.

Composite fillings are made of synthetic resins and are tooth colored so they have much better aesthetics.  They usually do not require as much of the tooth to be removed and because they bond to the surface of the tooth, they add strength and support to the tooth.  They are not quite as strong or as durable as amalgam although they have greatly improved over the last 20 years.  Composite fillings may need to be replaced after about 10 years.


How Long Should Fillings Last?

Posted in Fillings

An important component of a routine dental cleaning and check up is identifying any tooth decay.  If cavities are found, your dentist will restore the tooth by removing the decayed material and filling the cavity with silver amalgam or tooth colored composite material.

The filling provides support and stability to the tooth while preventing bacteria from entering the decayed area.  A typical amalgam filling can be expected to last ten to fifteen years but it depends on the patient’s oral hygiene habits.  Some patients who take good care of their teeth are walking around with fillings that are twenty to thirty years old or more.

Composite fillings are stronger and bond more securely to the surface of the tooth, but they are not quite as durable as amalgam fillings for dental restorations.  The average composite filling will need to be replaced after five to seven years.

The most common reasons for replacing a filling include a broken filling, a broken tooth, and a new cavity or tooth decay forming under the filling.  It is more likely for a new cavity to form under a composite filling than under an amalgam filling.  The metal content of amalgam makes it difficult for bacteria to survive under the filling.  On the other hand, composite fillings bond better to the teeth and can do a better job of preventing bacteria from entering the cavity.

A worn, cracked, or chipped filling should be replaced as soon as possible.  Bacteria can enter the crack or chip and start forming a new cavity.  The longer the patient delays getting the filling replaced, the bigger the cavity will get.  If the patient waits too long, there may not be enough healthy natural tooth left to place a filling and the dentist may need to restore the tooth with a crown.

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