Fillings Can Be Good

Fillings can be good. Take a jelly donut. Or how about a Boston éclair? What about a stuffed pork chop? Yummy.

But people don’t care much for tooth fillings. Tooth fillings are used once decayed tooth matter is removed, what you could call a cavity.

Clinically, that term is dental caries. If you don’t know what that word is, you’re not alone. But it is the most common oral disease known to man, dental caries. The process of getting caries is called tooth decay.

When you think about it “cavity” is really a misnomer anyway. That term probably came from the fact that once the dentist cleans out the decay, what is left is a cavity. And that cavity can’t be left open, as food debris and bacteria would become lodged in there. It needs to be filled.

Hence, the name “filling.”

Drs. Kalil and Kress fill teeth every day and more and more we’re using composite resin instead of the old silver amalgam. Here’s some information on those fillings.

Silver or tooth colored?

Everyone’s familiar with silver fillings. If you’re over 35, you can probably see a couple of them looking back at you in the mirror when you open your mouth. In New Hampshire, we’re a hardy lot, and silver amalgam fillings are hardy.

Well, they’re not really silver, they’re actually mostly mercury! That is disconcerting to many people. Silver fillings are made of silver amalgam. To make them, we mix mercury (50% of the eventual filling) with a powder comprised of silver, copper, tin, or zinc (usually a combination of some or all of those). There really isn’t any potential for harm from the mercury in your amalgam fillings. They’ve been studied by the FDA and they’ve been used since the 1800s. Still, some people don’t like the idea of being like a fish at the bottom of Lake Erie.

Composite fillings are becoming more and more popular with our patients at Kalil & Kress because they are very close to tooth color, and there isn’t any mercury in them. The resin is made of a mixture of plastic and glass. Problem is composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam. Technological advancements, however, are rapidly improving durability and are making composite fillings the choice for our team at Kalil & Kress.

Not only are composite fillings basically invisible, as the resin color can be matched very closely to your natural tooth color, but they also help the tooth actually become stronger. What?

When a traditional silver amalgam filling is placed, not only does the decayed portion of the tooth need to be removed, but some of the healthy tooth needs to also be removed to make room for the amalgam. It is then kind of wedged into the tooth. Another problem is that amalgam tends to contract and expand with hot and cold, and this can cause the host tooth to crack.

Composite fillings actually bond to the tooth surface. They are applied in layers and cured with a UV light. The resin tends becomes part of the tooth and creates some pull on it with the hardening. This actually adds strength when compared to a silver filling.

If you have been experiencing some extra sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods or drinks, you may have decay entering the interior of your tooth. Call us at Kalil & Kress, 603-880-7004, and let’s take a look.


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