Is It Time To Replace Those Old Fillings?
Fillings aren’t meant to last forever, though a lot of people don’t assume they ever have to be replaced. The average lifespan of an old metal amalgam filling is about 10 years: how long have you had yours? If you’re like a lot of the patients we see at Millburn Dental Arts the answer is probably “at least that long.”
We encourage our patients to keep their fillings fresh and up-to-date. Fillings that go beyond the normal life expectancy tend to start having problems that you might not notice until it’s too late. We want to talk about why you should replace those old metal fillings with our state-of-the-art dental composite variety.
Though there hasn’t been a positive link between mercury in dental amalgam and patient harm it’s still a cause for concern. Mercury is a toxic metal and despite with people say you may not want it in your mouth, which is your right!
Our composite fillings are mercury free and made from a completely safe glass and plastic mixture. When we replace old amalgam fillings we do so completely safely and will make sure no mercury ends up in your mouth when we’re finished.
No More Ugly Grey Metal
Amalgam fillings aren’t exactly pretty. How many times have you opened your mouth and sighed at that grey metal blob on your tooth? Dental composite is the clear choice in modern dentistry because it’s the same color as your natural teeth. We can even color match it to the tooth it’s going to be placed in so no one will ever notice!
Amalgam is the filling product of the future – we haven’t even placed a metal filling at our Millburn dentist office in years. We’re all composite all the time: it’s better for your oral health and your appearance.
Metal Fillings Don’t Bond To Teeth
You probably aren’t surprised, but amalgam metal fillings aren’t able to bond to your teeth, so they have to be cemented in place. They also need to be larger in order to keep a good grip: two things that aren’t ideal, especially when the cement used to attach them wears out over time.
Lost filling cement is like an invitation to oral bacteria to come on it and start working on cavities. Many patients with older metal fillings have tooth decay that they can’t even see because it’s happening below the surface of their teeth! If left untreated too long those invisible cavities can destroy a tooth from within, necessitating a crown, root canal, or even an extraction.
Composite fillings don’t have that problem. The glass/plastic mixture is formulated to bond with your teeth and form a seal so tight that it’s almost unbreakable. Not only does this mean there isn’t a possible gap for bacteria to get in but it also means new composite fillings don’t need to be as large.
Teeth Are Surprisingly Flexible; Metal Isn’t
You don’t realize it but when you chew food your teeth flex and give just the tiniest bit. They need to do this to avoid damage and distribute forces properly, something that metal fillings completely disrupt. Metal fillings have a tendency to completely change the way force is distributed in a tooth, leading to small microfractures that can cause serious long term damage.
Because it’s so hard to detect and diagnose these fractures, especially if they’re internal, the damage to your tooth can go untreated for a long time. This can lead to decay, further fracture, and even eventual loss of the filling itself.
Thankfully this is another area that dental composite excels. It was designed to not only flex like your teeth but to also distribute forces the same way. When you get a composite filling you can rest easy knowing that your teeth are able to do their jobs undisrupted by metal amalgam.
Fillings: Not So Simple!
No one really thinks much about dental fillings, especially since over 90 percent of adults will end up with cavities at some point in their lives! There’s more to fillings than you think, which is why it’s important to make sure yours are still doing their jobs.
If you’re worried you might have an obsolete or damaged dental filling don’t wait: call Millburn Dental Arts today at (973) 957-1604. You can also request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!