April 5, 2016
You had cavities several years ago, and you did what you needed to do at the time to protect your teeth.
You got amalgam fillings. From a practical standpoint, there is nothing wrong with these silver-colored fillings. They can and do protect your teeth against new decay.
That’s all well and good.
But they also may make you more self-conscious about your smile. After all, your filling is a tiny landmark pointing out that once upon a time, in this space, a cavity existed.
You learned from that incident, and since then, you have taken great care of your teeth. Our team at Oregon Smile Care Center wants your smile to look as good as your teeth feel.
This why our dentist offers tooth-colored fillings at our office in Salem, OR.
If you have an amalgam filling or silver filling, here’s what you have in your mouth.
Mercury makes up half the material used in an amalgam filling. The rest is a blend of copper, silver, and tin. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that your teeth take on a metallic tint with amalgam fillings.
The FDA and the American Dental Association both state that amalgam fillings are safe. The level of mercury that may be released due to chewing is too low to be considered a danger.
White fillings, like the ones we offer, are made with a combination of glass and plastic. This makes white fillings durable, and they look like your real teeth.
Rather than drawing attention to the location of long gone cavities, you can have a smile that looks natural to anyone you meet.
Why You May Want To Replace Old Fillings
We have been discussing one of the reasons you may want to switch your silver fillings for tooth-colored fillings.
The cosmetic benefits of removing the metal fillings from your mouth can improve your confidence in your smile and your comfort in social situations.
But is that the only reason to replace silver fillings? No, it’s not.
As a matter of safety, the ADA stands behind amalgam fillings. Even so, all fillings wear down with time and need to be replaced.
Fillings can and should last for years at a time, but they wear out under the daily stress of biting and chewing. The foods we eat and the beverages we drink also affect the appearance of our fillings.
As any filling wears down, it may start to separate from your tooth. At this point, it is no longer providing the same level of protection. That space becomes an area where bacteria and plaque could potentially damage your tooth.
Fillings can become chipped, which can leave your teeth exposed for similar reasons.
Fillings can become cracked, too. Regardless of the location, this is a sign that the filling is weakening. As the crack spreads, all or part of your filling could fall out.
Purpose Of A Filling
You first got your filling because you had a cavity.
Cavities are caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth. Cavities or tooth decay are the signs that the bacteria has damaged your tooth.
Cavities occur most frequently in your molars, which are the larger and flatter teeth in the back of your mouth. Bacteria live and grow because of the sugars in the foods that we eat. In this case, sugars don’t just mean sweets. They also include carbohydrates found in bread, pasta, and other things.
Bacteria will build plaque, a sticky film that adheres to your teeth. If this isn’t removed through brushing and flossing (and yes, you need to do both), then the acids in the plaque can start to eat away at your teeth.
You may not notice that you have a cavity until the holes are visible in your teeth. You also may notice that your teeth have become more sensitive.
If you come to Oregon Smile Care Center for routine cleanings and examinations, we may notice the cavity formation sooner than you would. In treating your cavity, we may recommend a white filling to protect your teeth and preserve the natural appearance of your smile.
Do You Recognize The Signs?
If you have noticed the signs of a worn out, cracked, or missing filling, contact our dentist office in Salem, OR, right away to schedule an appointment. Likewise, make plans to visit us if you recognize the signs of a new cavity forming.