Amalgam vs. Modern—Which is the Better Dental Filling?

Jan 24th, 2013 | By | Category: Restorative Dentistry, Tooth Decay

Dental FillingIn our last article, we discussed the progression of tooth decay and how a dental filling can help save your tooth if the infection is caught early enough. Your mouth can fight the development of a progressive dental disease like tooth decay, but once it’s taken hold, your mouth is virtually helpless. Your action is required to stop the disease and its resulting damage. In the case of tooth decay, removing the infection is the only way to halt it, and a dental filling is often needed to reinforce your tooth’s structure after the infection has been removed. For over a century, the material of choice for these fillings has been dental amalgam, a mixture of various metals that provide stability against your bite’s force. With the advent of white composite resin, however, you can now restore your afflicted tooth without adding an unwanted metallic gleam to your smile. Richmond dentistDr. Stefan Moiceanu, has extensive experience treating and restoring teeth affected by decay, and briefly discusses to the two common filling materials.

A Complicated History

There was a time when gold was the only viable material for replacing a tooth’s damaged structure. In the mid-late 1800s, not many could afford to have their teeth treated until two Englishmen, the Crawcours brothers, introduced their innovative new product. Their dental material consisted of a creative cocktail of metals, none of which were gold, but they called their product “royal mineral succedaneum.” Many people associated the name with gold or some other precious metals, but the greatest appeal of the new filling material was that it was affordable to the general public. Amalgam’s mercury content, however, gave rise to controversy. Some declared amalgam’s use was unsafe, but patients were not experiencing troubles related to their new fillings, so the controversy failed to halt its use. Today, the ADA (American Dental Association) agrees that use of dental amalgam is generally safe, but should be avoided if you are pregnant, elderly, very young, or suffer from any metal allergies.

A Simple, Discrete Solution

Though metal amalgam fillings may not be hazardous to your health, they are subject to failure. Metal expands and contracts in hot and cold temperatures, and your tooth is not flexible enough to accommodate it. If a dental filling expands, it can fracture or break your unyielding tooth, and if it contracts, it will create a space for bacteria to enter your tooth again. To prevent tooth decay from striking again, you may prefer a composite resin dental filling, which does not change shape or size and is bonded to your tooth’s structure for a more secure fit. The resin can also be tinted to match the color of your tooth, offering discretion so that no one needs to know you’ve had dental work done.

Restore Your Smile with Help from Richmond Dentist

If you’d like to learn more about your options for treating tooth decay, or if you’d like to replace your old metal dental work with innovative white dental fillings, schedule a consultation with Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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