Cavities are discomforting, painful, and unsightly. Thankfully, dental fillings help repair cavities easily and affordably. Today, patients can choose between metal and non-metal dental fillings. However, the latter has been a preferred choice of both dentists and patients. Let us understand why these metal-free dental fillings are ideal for oral health.
What is a dental filling anyway?
Dental fillings help treat and renew a partially decayed tooth. Your dentist removes the cavity and then uses a dental filling material to fill the hollow portion of a tooth. Fillings also work effectively to repair broken, cracked, or teeth that have degraded because of teeth grinding or nail-biting.
What are non-metal dental fillings?
Non-metal dental fillings are those free from amalgams of mercury or silver. There are two types of metal-free dental fillings—composite and glass ionomer. A composite filling is a tooth-colored filling made of a mixture of glass and resin. Versatile, durable, and aesthetically better, it provides additional support to the tooth. Dentists prefer composite fillings for visible areas such as the front teeth because these look natural and blend in with the rest of the tooth.
Glass Ionomer is the second type of non-metal filling. It is made of silicate glass powder and chemically bonds directly with the tooth surface. Silicate glass powder releases fluoride over time, which helps prevent the recurrence of cavities and protects your teeth. Though glass ionomer fillings are easier to apply, these are not as durable as composite fillings. That is why dentists use these for temporary restorations that are to be replaced later.
Reasons why metal-free fillings are better?
Dentists recommend non-metal fillings because of several reasons that go beyond appearance and flexibility. Scroll down to read further.
1) A safer option
Non-metal fillings are non-toxic as they are made of glass or quartz within a resin medium. These may contain a minimal amount of bisphenol A glycidyl methacrylate or BIS-GMA. However, depending upon the dosages and routes of administration, its effects are negligible. On the other hand, metal fillings comprise a mix of silver amalgams, mercury, copper, and tin to make the fillings sturdy. Mercury, according to several studies, poses several health risks. Pregnant and lactating women, children under the age of six, and people with kidney disorders are at a greater risk. In addition, some people could be generally allergic to mercury and its compounds, and its slow release into the body may cause inflammation.
2. Discreet and natural
Silver linings look good on clouds, not in your teeth when you talk, laugh, or eat. Given their noticeability, metal fillings make people feel self-conscious. However, metal-free fillings match the natural tooth color and hardly catch anyone’s attention.
3. Minimal impact of temperature fluctuations
Metal fillings expand and contract quickly when they get exposed to heat and cold respectively. It puts pressure on the tooth as well as the nerves surrounding it, thus causing tooth sensitivity and pain. So, it defeats the purpose of getting dental fillings. Alternatively, composite and ceramic fillings mimic the expansion and contraction rate of the natural tooth and help decrease the pressure on teeth. Also, the shape of these fillings remains intact even when they are exposed to a high temperature.
- Protects the natural tooth
While prepping the dental site for non-metal fillings, a dentist does not have to drill a large hole in your tooth while removing cavities and making space for amalgam. They just need to clean the affected area and place composite material or dental cement to fill the hollow. Metal-free fillings are flexible and bond easily with the teeth, thus ensuring a process that takes lesser drilling and minimal discomfort to the patient. Drilling during the placement of metal fillings might also affect a part of the healthy tooth structure. Choosing non-metal fillings is a viable option to preserve natural tooth structure as much as possible.
- Makes tooth stronger
Composite fillings form a bond with the tooth and add to its strength. This attachment to the tooth also prevents the shifting of dental filling.
Metal fillings just cover up the hollow in the tooth. Gradually, it weakens the tooth structure and makes it prone to breaking, chipping, or cracking. The filling may also need to be replaced if it moves out of place.
6.Easier to fix
Dental fillings, irrespective of the material used, require periodic restoration. So, it makes sense to choose the filling that is easier to repair. Composite and glass ionomer fillings win this category indubitably. Adding composite to the tooth or filling the dental cement is easier than removing the entire metal filling and placing a new one. Getting metal fillings from time to time might also aggravate the weakening of the tooth structure.
- Prevents recurrence of tooth decay
Experts offering metal-free dentistry at Bonita and other reputable dental clinics in California ensure that the filling seals the hollow portion of the tooth. This seal prevents bacteria from eating the tooth away and keeps recurrence of tooth decay at bay. Metal filling only conceals the hole in your tooth, which increases the chances of the tooth cavity striking again.
If you are sensitive to metal amalgams or looking for non-toxic and tooth-colored dental fillings, choose metal-free fillings right away.