Do you have any silver fillings in your teeth? Since as early as the 1800s, dental amalgam fillings were used to fill teeth that had been decayed by cavities. Recently, however, controversy over the use of mercury in dental amalgam fillings (as well as their shiny, unnatural appearance) has caused many to grow skeptical of this classic procedure for filling teeth.
Luckily, researchers and dental engineers have been working on more effective fillings that provide different options for patients around the world. Some of these treatments even eliminate the need for drilling teeth, a process which has been known to make some patients wary of heading to the dentist.
Here are a few of the new methods and materials being used to fill cavities:
Gold – Yes, that’s right: gold. Gold fillings can be cemented into your teeth after being constructed in a laboratory. It’s quite popular among dentists. Gold works well with gums and can last for decades.
If it sounds like a fancy way to fill holes in your teeth, it is. Gold is a more expensive option than amalgam or other types of fillings, but many believe the cost is worth the years of wear and tear it can withstand.
Composite (Plastic) Resins – If you want to reduce the amount of appointments or time you spend in the dentist’s office, consider this type of filling. On your first appointment, the ingredients can be mixed to match the color of your teeth and added directly to your cavities.
However, this type of material will wear down after a few years, and may be affected by staining from things like coffee or smoking.
Porcelain – If you’ve seen dentists offering onlays or overlays, know that you are essentially reading about porcelain fillings. These fillings, like gold, are created in a lab and bonded to your tooth, covering most of it. Unlike gold or silver, the biggest advantage of porcelain fillings is that they look very similar to your natural teeth.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF): Amalgam fillings contain silver. They have been a popular choice for so long because they are inexpensive and can last for many years. Other materials that contain silver (but not the controversial mercury) may be on the rise in years to come.
One of those materials: silver diamine fluoride. It’s only been a short amount of time since the FDA has approved silver diamine fluoride, but it provides a great alternative to drilling and the traditional way of treating tooth decay and cavities.
The antimicrobial liquid was first approved to reduce tooth sensitivity in adults over the age of 21, but dentists quickly saw the antibacterial qualities of the liquid, and have considered using it to prevent and halt cavity progression. The liquid is simply brushed on and is now starting to become a known alternative in pediatric dentistry.
The only real setback to using SDF is that it may leave a darkened stain or color where it is applied. The procedure is relatively cost-effective, however, and may be an option to look into if you want to fight tooth decay without the stress of drills around your teeth.
South Florida Dental Care takes pride in its ability to use the most innovative and effective treatments and materials to ensure efficient, stress-free visits and your best smile. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may be surprised at the advancements that have been made in filling cavities, as well as tooth restoration, bridges, veneers, and more.
Reach out to us today to see what new treatments South Florida Dental Care can offer you.