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Why To Choose Colored Fillings Over Metal Ones
Most adults have experienced tooth fillings during a dental visit. In fact, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research found that 92% of adults in the United States between the ages of 20 and 64 have had at least one cavity. When a dentist drills away tooth decay inside a cavity, the hole left behind should be fixed with a filling to prevent any additional deterioration of the teeth. While both metal and tooth-colored fillings are available, many people and dentists prefer tooth-colored ones. There are some common-sense reasons for this preference.
A metal filling is usually made from a combination of tin, mercury, silver and copper metals. The color of these metals stands out against the white enamel of a tooth. A visible filling can make a person self-conscious about talking, eating or laughing around others.
Colored fillings are typically made from a composite resin specifically designed to match the natural shade of tooth enamel. This means a filling, even in the front teeth, will blend in and not be noticeable to others.
While many people choose tooth-colored fillings for the way they look, there are also many functional advantages to this type of filling. Dental professionals, in particular, appreciate some of these plusses.
Easy to work with
A filling must be sculpted into the hole in the tooth drilled by a dentist. The soft texture of a composite resin filling means it is easier to form into the natural shape and grooves of the tooth.
Safe for everyone
Some people are allergic to certain metals, and a metal filling may cause tooth sensitivity in certain cases. Both composite resin and ceramic are safe, even for those with metal allergies, and they should not result in tooth sensitivity. Additionally, low levels of mercury can be released by metal fillings due to the mercury content in the metal. Although these fillings have not been shown to cause health problems, people should be aware of the potential impact of having a metal filling in the mouth for several years.
Because composite fillings bond to the teeth without the need for additional adhesives, less drilling is required to place the filling, and more of the natural tooth can be preserved. The natural bonding of the composite to the tooth structure also serves to support the tooth around the spot where the decay was removed.
Depending on the type of tooth-colored filling used, it may last longer. One type of tooth-colored filling is made from ceramic and can last at least 15 years before needing replacement. Composite resin fillings may need replacement after 7-10 years, and most metal fillings last between 10 and 15 years.
Tooth-colored fillings offer many advantages to both patients and dental professionals. This type of filling not only looks better and blends in with the existing tooth enamel, but it may also be easier for dentists to use, better for the tooth and safer for the patient. When a filling is necessary, take these facts into consideration before choosing a type of filling material.
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