A Closer Look at Dental Fillings
One of the most common dental procedures performed in the United States, dental fillings are the necessary treatment for small cavities in a tooth. Tooth decay occurs when the acid produced by oral bacteria leach crucial minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, out of the enamel, softening and infecting the tooth structure. Tooth decay, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to the structure of the tooth and require invasive procedures like root canal therapy or even a tooth extraction to address the problem. Even in its early stages, tooth decay is irreversible for the most part and the infected tooth structure must be removed and replaced with a filling.
Types of Dental Fillings
At Loukas Dentistry of Park Ridge, we offer two kinds of dental fillings:
- Composite resin or “white” fillings. This plastic-based material is used for both anterior (front of the mouth) and posterior (back of the mouth) restorations. Due to the improvement in the strength, lack of sensitivity, and life-like esthetics it offers, this material is used almost exclusively and is preferred by most patients.
- Amalgam or “silver” fillings. Developed in the 19th century as an affordable material for filling in cavities, dental amalgam is a mixture of silver, mercury, copper, and other metals. Despite a great deal of controversy, the mercury used in dental amalgam is completely inert and safe for the patient. In no way does mercury from a filling have any detrimental effects on the patient. While amalgam fillings have been largely overtaken but composite resin fillings, amalgam still has its place in restorative dentistry.