May 15, 2016
Tooth decay remains one of the most common oral health problems across the United States. In fact, more than 90 percent of Americans will have at least one cavity in their lives.
With that many cavities, lots of people have and will receive dental fillings. Knowing the odds, if you haven’t had a filling yet, there is a good chance you will have one some day.
If you learn that you have a cavity, we encourage you to visit the dentist office of Thomas J. Feder, D.D.S., P.C. We offer both amalgam and composite fillings for our patients in and around Belleville, IL.
What Fillings Are For
Dental fillings are intended to restore the function of your damaged tooth and to protect it against new infections.
Bacteria live inside your mouth. It’s not something that most of us think about, but it’s true. The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on the sugars in your food.
Bacteria will hide in spaces that you don’t clean as well as you should during your daily brushing and flossing. With enough time, the bacteria will eat into the enamel of your teeth.
This is how tooth decay starts. As it eats into your tooth, you may notice spots where the tooth is discolored. This is when many people decide that it’s time to go to the dentist.
Kinds Of Fillings
We mentioned earlier that we offer two kinds of fillings in our practice. We want to take some time to explain how they are different.
- Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam fillings are the best fillings for the money. Amalgam fillings are made with a blend of mercury along with copper, silver, or tin.
Amalgam provides many of the advantages of gold fillings without the expense. WedMD reported that both gold and amalgam fillings last about the same amount of time, 10 to 15 years.
This also gives you an idea how durable amalgam fillings are. They are made of materials that can withstand the daily rigors of being part of a tooth (biting and chewing) for more than a decade.
We know that some of you may be concerned that mercury is a major component of amalgam fillings. The American Dental Association has been aware of those concerns, and they have monitored studies on the possible harmful effect of mercury in fillings.
The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has reviewed multiple studies and concluded that amalgam fillings remain safe for use.
- Composite Fillings
If you don’t want amalgam fillings for any reason, we also offer composite fillings in our office.
Composite fillings are made with a resin that can be shaded to match the color of natural teeth. They are sometimes called white fillings or tooth-colored fillings for this reason.
Some patients don’t like the metallic appearance of amalgam on their teeth. Composite fillings offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative.
WebMD did note that composite fillings often don’t last as long as amalgam fillings. This is another factor you may want to consider when deciding which kind of filling to receive.
Dental fillings serve an important purpose. They protect a tooth that previously has been damaged by tooth decay.
Unfortunately, modern dentistry has not yet developed a permanent filling. This means you will need to replace your filling from time to time no matter what kind of filling you have.
Fllings will show signs of wear and tear after years of use. Here’s what you need to watch for.
Chipping is one common problem. Fillings will hold up to a lot, and they can last for years, but they aren’t as durable as natural teeth. If you notice that part of your filling has fallen out, it’s time to get a new one.
Cracking is another concern. The depth of a crack is hard to measure, but once it’s started, you can be sure that it will grow with time.
Fillings also may separate from your teeth as they get older. If you don’t address this when you see it, then you may have a bigger problem if your filling falls out.
Any of these problems can expose your tooth to bacteria in a place where you can’t remove it by brushing or flossing. This is why it’s important to replace a filling as needed.
Protect Your Teeth
Preventing cavities requires brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist for cleanings a few times each year. If we find a cavity during your visit to our dentist office in Belleville, IL, rest assured that we can give you a high-quality filling to repair your tooth when necessary.