Dentist in Waco Explains What an Amalgam Filling Is

July 31, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Rick Cofer @ 2:03 pm

young woman smilingPeople who are past a certain age may wear the visible evidence of past cavities on their beautiful smiles. These old fillings are easily seen as silver spots on otherwise beautiful tooth enamel. Today, there’s a better alternative to amalgam (silver) fillings. Your dentist in Waco, Dr. Rick Cofer, offers tooth-colored fillings. Find out why that matters in this week’s blog post!

What Is Amalgam?

Amalgam is the silver-colored material that has long been used to fill cavities, or the holes in your tooth enamel that occur when you don’t brush and floss regularly or well enough. It’s a mixture of mercury (50%), silver, tin, and copper. Mercury binds the materials together.

Amalgam fillings were used for years, but recent concern surrounding the potential risk for mercury exposure has led dentists and patients to prefer a safer, more aesthetic alternative: tooth-colored fillings.

Tooth-Colored Fillings: A Better Alternative

Tooth-colored fillings are made out of biocompatible composite resin that is composed of smooth glass and plastic particles. Patients with mercury allergies, or those who simply prefer a more natural solution, can greatly benefit from this restorative option. Composite resin comes with a precise color-matching guide to ensure it blends perfectly with your surrounding tooth enamel. Once a tooth-colored filling is placed, you may not be able to detect where the cavity was to begin with.

Aside from being highly aesthetic, composite resin is made out of materials that are pose no potential threat to your health. A tooth-colored filling also requires less removal of your healthy tooth enamel, allowing for a more conservative procedure overall. And unlike with amalgam fillings, which may take up to 12 hours to fully harden, a tooth-colored one is set within minutes after placement.

Procedure for a Tooth-Colored Filling

Our team prefers tooth-colored fillings because they look just like your natural tooth enamel and do not pose any sort of health risk. If you need a tooth-colored filling, your dentist or a trained hygienist will begin by removing all decayed matter from the cavity. The area will then be cleaned and sanitized. We need to keep the tooth enamel completely dry for proper bonding between the resin and the enamel, so we’ll isolate it with cotton. Once we’re ready to begin the filling, a special etching solution is applied to the tooth to sort of roughen the enamel up. This preparation helps the resin bond securely with the tooth. After the filling is applied, your dentist sculpts it to ensure it matches perfectly with your tooth and bite. Once everything is just right, the filling is hardened under a special light, then polished. And just like that, you’re ready to go — with full smile health once again!

Questions? Talk to Us Today!

If you have questions about silver fillings vs. the tooth-colored option, or if you would like your family dentist in Waco to check in on the health of your existing fillings, please don’t hesitate to contact Premier Family Dental!

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