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Amalgams have been used for decades to fill cavities and repair damaged teeth. While they did at one time save many teeth from extraction, they have outlived their usefulness. Subsequent advances in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible to use alternatives to amalgams that are far more beneficial and far more attractive.
This is good news for dental patients, because there are many problems with amalgam fillings that people have always had to contend with. Many of these problems are exclusively medical in nature, while many others are cosmetic in nature. In todays world of cosmetic dentistry, the evolution of cosmetic dental bonding material now allows us to create better filling materials that can be used to repair teeth.
These new materials allow teeth to be stronger, look more natural, and remain in better overall health. This is because they are bio-friendly and can be made to match the exact color of teeth. This produces a more natural looking smile and a tooth that is restored to nearly 100% of its original functionality.
A basic understanding of amalgams is in order so that we can better see the benefits of white resin fillings. By definition, an amalgam is a combination of different metals. In the case of dental fillings, the metals used are 35 percent silver, 50 percent mercury 15 percent tin (or sometimes tin mixed with copper), along with traces of zinc.
Many people have become concerned in recent years about the risks that mercury may pose. Health organizations have reassured people that that the mercury used in these fillings are safe because it is atomically bonded to other metals. However, other officials disagree. They believe that that mercury as a toxic heavy metal and should not be trusted in the mouth, period.
Another problem with amalgams is that they also expand with heat and cold. This will cause them to stress the surrounding tooth mass. When the filling expands enough, it can actually cause the tooth to crack from the inside out.
Silver-mercury fillings also corrode over time and start leaking. When this occurs, bacteria get beneath the filling and decay begins to develop all over again.
Amalgams also fracture when a person ages. This will break their protective seal and make the tooth vulnerable to tooth decay.
Amalgams also have a negative impact on a persons smile. Silver-mercury fillings never have looked all that attractive because they show up as dark spots on a tooth. In the back of the mouth on large molars, this has never been a real problem. However, fillings in the front teeth are noticeable, and tend to make people very self-conscious when they smile.
This has all changed, thankfully, since the emergence of white fillings. These are much more aesthetic alternatives to amalgams, and much better for your teeth in general. They are tooth-colored and can match the natural color of teeth. They also can be applied with minimal removal of existing tooth material.
If you currently have amalgams you are concerned about, call your dentist and discuss the possibility of cosmetic dental fillings as alternative replacements.
Cosmetic Dentistry is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and experience to be done correctly. The Medical Center Dental Group in Houston, Texas brings all of that and more to the direct benefit of each and every patient we treat. Although we are located in the world famous Houston Medical Center at Scurlock Towers, we routinely see dental patients who travel from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Beaumont and Midland Texas to see Dr. Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell or Dr. Elizabeth OSullivan-Winslow for their cosmetic denistry services that includes: