Dental fillings are very common. Dentists in Providence RI many need to fill a tooth because of a cavity, small chip or fracture. No matter the reason a filling is needed, it’s important to understand the different filling materials that are used.
Metal fillings have been around as long as dentists have been treating cavities. The metal used in fillings is known as amalgam. It’s an alloy of mercury along with other metals, often silver or copper. This material is very durable, and a single filling may last up to 10 to 15 years.
Many dentists in Providence RI opt for amalgam when the cavity is very large or located on the chewing surface of a molar. This material is extremely durable and capable withstanding large amounts of force. Some dentists even find the metal easier to work with than other types of fillings.
Amalgam, however, is no longer the first choice when it comes to dental fillings. Many patients are turned off by the dark color of metal fillings. Others are concerned about the trace levels of mercury found in amalgam, although these concerns are unfounded.
More dentists are now recommending composite fillings to their patients. Composite fillings are made from a strong resin, which is bonded directly to the tooth. This strong bond keeps the filling from shifting or shrinking over time. However, it should be noted that composite fillings only last seven years, on average.
Patients prefer the composite material over amalgam because it blends in seamlessly with the surrounding tooth structure. The resin used for composite fillings is tooth-colored. Although the resin is more aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t hold up as well on chewing surfaces.
The process for placing a composite dental filling is more complex. The dentist will place small layers of the resin at a time, curing it with a special light between each layer. Resin hardens very quickly, so the dentist must also be careful to adjust the patient’s bite before they leave.
If you’re needing a dental filing, you’ll more than likely be able to choose from amalgam or composite fillings. Visit Domain to learn about different dental problems that are commonly corrected with dental fillings.