Dental care has made a number of advancements over time and continues to do so. Today, many dental procedures allow the patient to make the decision in terms of the materials and techniques used, so it is vital for patients to have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of their options. One of the most commonly performed dental procedures are fillings. When the tooth begins to decay the contamination must first be removed and the tooth must be filled by an appropriate material.
Unfortunately 3 out of 4 people will encounter a tooth requiring a filling at some point in their life, due to improper dental hygiene. The most commonly used materials are amalgams or composites. Amalgam is composed of silver, zinc, copper and mercury. Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years and are strong, more affordable options. However, they are not aesthetically pleasing since they are not tooth-colored. Amalgam uses mechanical forces to adhere to the tooth and thus will expand and contract more often, risking possibilities of tooth fracture and cracking. The point of greatest concern, however, is mercury contamination. Since mercury has been found to have adverse side effects on the brain and kidney, Artistic Works Dentistry chooses not to perform amalgam fillings on our patients.
Composite fillings, on the other hand, are both aesthetically pleasing and have no health related side effects. The bonds to the tooth are chemical bonds, which allow it to support and strengthen the tooth rather than fracture or crack the tooth over time. Composite material comes in a variety of shades, allowing the dentist to create a natural tooth colored filling. Since composite material is so versatile, it can also be used to chipped, worn or cracked teeth. Most importantly, however, less tooth structure is removed in order to perform a composite filling as compared to an amalgam, maximizing the post-operative strength of the tooth.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies still consider amalgams to be the only material used for fillings and thus will only cover your fillings at the price of an amalgam (even if you choose to get the alternative composite). At Artistic Works Dentistry, we believe in providing you with the best in oral health without compromising your overall health, which is why we choose to perform only composite fillings on our patients.