A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. A filling is also used to change or modify a tooth's appearance for cosmetic reasons.
What are Amalgams (silver/mercury) fillings made of?
Amalgam fillings are made up of a combination of metals (silver 65%; Copper 6%; Zinc 2%; and Tin 25%) bound together in a mixture with 50% mercury. Even though they have good longevity there are some significant downsides. Mainly the silver fillings leak. Bacteria seep under the restorations and they re-decay. Also the mercury expands and contracts with hot and cold temperatures.This causes the teeth to break and split
What are Bonded Composite (tooth colored) fillings made of?
Composites are the other type of common restorations. They are a combination of plastic and micro glass particles. Composites are chemically bonded to the tooth to create a "seal". Instead of weakening the tooth, composites can restore up to 85% of the tooth's strength. The good news is that they also return your tooth to its natural color. Bonded composites are made with tooth colored material, not silver.
What fillings do our office use?
Our practice is and has been "mercury free" for over 20 years. We treat decay by bonded composite restorations only.
Amalgam Restorations, more commonly referred to as Silver/Mercury fillings, were the standard from the 1930's to the mid 1990's. Today bondable composites are the new standard. The picture on the left shows a failing restoration. The dark coloring indicates caries or dental decay which exists along the side of the restoration due to the inability of the amalgam to seal to the tooth.
The second picture shows the decay present after the removal of the old restoration. Note the cracking of the tooth which is a result of years of expansion and contraction from the mercury in the amalgams.
Dental xrays will not show this type of decay.
The final picture shows the end result of a new bondable composite restoration.