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Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues, as over 90% of adults have experienced at least one cavity in their lifetime. Back then, the only way to treat this problem was with silver (or amalgam) fillings. Though these restorations were durable, recent studies have shown that they have harmful side effects on your overall health. If you’re going to replace metal fillings, you might consider switching to a tooth-colored option. Read on to learn why this transition is ideal for preserving the health of your smile!

Smiling girl

What Are Dental Fillings Made Out Of?

Most traditional amalgam fillings incorporated a mixture of copper, tin, silver, and other metals to fill the damage created by dental decay. After being hardened in place, the restorations would be able to withstand the excessive pressure from talking and chewing. On the other hand, modern dental fillings are constructed from composite resin, which consists of dental plastic, glass, and ceramic particles to develop a putty-like substance. Though both options are capable of restoring the function and strength of teeth that were damaged by cavities, there are several reasons most dentists prefer one over the other.

What Are the Disadvantages of Metal Fillings?

Here are several short- and long-term downsides to having metal fillings:

  • Highly noticeable appearance: Anyone can see the shiny metal from your filling, which can cause you to feel self-conscious about your pearly whites.
  • Often results in tooth sensitivity: Amalgam fillings don’t bond to natural teeth effectively, typically resulting in increasingly sensitive teeth over time.
  • Can gradually damage enamel: Metal often alters in size when exposed to very cold or hot temperatures, developing microfractures in the enamel and weakening the teeth.
  • May contain small traces of mercury: Some studies have discovered that having eight or more metal fillings can drastically increase the amount of mercury in the blood.

The Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Fortunately, amalgam isn’t the only kind of material available for fillings. Here are a few reasons you should consider switching to tooth-colored composite resin restorations:

  • Preserve healthy enamel: Since metal-free fillings adhere to natural tooth structure effectively, you won’t need much of your healthy enamel to be removed to place your restoration.
  • Efficiently seal out bacteria: Tooth-colored fillings will form a tight seal with your enamel and aren’t reactive to extreme temperatures, meaning they’ll effectively shield sensitive layers of your teeth.
  • Flawless results: The composite resin material can be shaded to match your natural teeth, creating a seamless blend with the rest of your smile.
  • Ideal for sensitive smiles: This is a great option for those with metal allergies or sensitivities.

If you’re ready to change out your metal fillings, be sure to consider tooth-colored restorations. Speak with your dentist if you’re interested, and they’ll be glad to help you transition to a healthier and more natural-looking solution for your smile!

About the Author

Dr. Mark Gray earned his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Dental School. He’s also a proud member of several organizations like the American Dental Association and the Greater Houston Dental Society. He provides a wide selection of advanced and comprehensive services, including metal-free restorations and tooth-colored fillings. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, visit his website or call 281-493-9395.