A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used artificially to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. Dental restorations may be fabricated out of a variety of materials:
Dental composites are also called white fillings. Crowns and in-lays can also be made in the laboratory from dental composites. These materials are similar to those used in direct fillings and are tooth colored. Their strength and durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they are more prone to wear and discoloration.
Many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and tooth-colored restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable), but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and creates an environment where cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can lead to fracturing of the tooth.
Silver fillings contain mercury. They can corrode, leak, and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth-colored restorations.
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin restorations are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact, stronger, and wears like a natural tooth.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay.
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations. This process only requires one appointment.