In the past, dental fillings often meant adding a glint of metal to your smile, but times have changed. Modern dentistry has embraced high-tech materials that closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth, making tooth-colored dental fillings the preferred choice in numerous dental practices worldwide.
Exploring Different Filling Materials
Amalgam Fillings: A Reliable Classic
Metal fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, have been a tried-and-true method for repairing damaged teeth. These fillings consist of an alloy of metals, including silver, copper, tin, and zinc, with some containing minor amounts of mercury. However, rest assured that the American Dental Association confirms that the mercury content is so minimal that it poses no health risk to patients. Nevertheless, for those who wish to avoid mercury altogether, alternative options like composite fillings or gold fillings are available.
Composite Resin Fillings: Blending Beauty with Strength
Dentists refer to tooth-colored or “white” fillings as composite resin fillings. Composites comprise hard and durable plastics mixed with glass, closely mimicking the natural enamel of your teeth. By incorporating coloring agents, dentists ensure that the composite resin seamlessly blends with the rest of your tooth, rendering it virtually indistinguishable.
Gold Fillings: A Unique Metal Choice
In contrast to amalgam fillings, gold fillings are entirely crafted from gold. The process involves creating a mold of your tooth, followed by the application of the gold filling, requiring two dental visits. Amalgam and composite fillings, on the other hand, are sculpted from a malleable material and hardened in place during a single visit.
The Importance of Personal Preference
While some insurance providers may consider amalgam fillings as the standard of care and view composite fillings as a cosmetic option, it’s crucial to remember that decisions regarding your oral health should primarily be made in consultation with your dentist. The cost coverage by insurance should not carry the same weight as a clinician’s treatment recommendation or your own preferences. If you desire nearly invisible, tooth-colored fillings for a more natural look, composite fillings offer an excellent choice.