Over 90 percent of Americans will have a cavity at some point in their lives. In most cases that also means getting a filling, so there’s a pretty good possibility that you have had a filling placed at some point in your life! You probably don’t know much about your fillings aside from the fact that they’ve restored your teeth – do you know how long they’re supposed to last?
At Precise Dental Of Houston we’ve placed countless fillings over our years in practice. In that time we’ve seen dental technology change and new dental filling materials have become preferred. The days of metal amalgam are over and new tooth colored composite fillings are by far the new choice. But what about old fillings? If you’ve had them for more than 10 years it might be time to replace them!
Replacing Fillings: Why?
While metal amalgam fillings are still a perfectly acceptable solution they do have several weaknesses that cause their lifespan to be somewhat limited. The greatest problem facing metal amalgam fillings is the way they’re fixed in place: with dental cement. The cement lasts for a long time but it still has a tendency to wear away over time.
The cement used to secure your fillings only lasts about 10 years, give or take, before enough of it has washed way to be a problem. The microscopic spaces between tooth and filling are very attractive to oral bacteria. When it gets in there it’s just a matter of time before it leads to cavities that form from the inside of your teeth. They can be devastating to your oral health because they’re almost completely undetectable!
It isn’t just the cement in your fillings that can be a cause for concern. Many patients also worry about the mercury in dental amalgam. While we can confidently say that mercury in fillings is safe that doesn’t necessarily put your mind at ease, and we respect that!
Getting rid of that old amalgam filling in favor of a composite one is great idea: we can remove it safely and replace it with composite that will do a great job and look just like your natural teeth. It will be completely unnoticeable and eliminate the mercury fear as well!
No More Temperature Sensitivity
Metal fillings and extreme temperatures don’t play well together: if you have one you probably know that well. Ice cream, coffee – almost anything can probably set them off! Metal amalgam conducts temperature incredibly well, but guess what doesn’t? Dental composite.
We use composite fillings to eliminate temperature sensitivity: a great change for patients tired of dealing with discomfort when eating their favorite hot and cold foods!
Prevent Damage To Your Teeth
It comes as a surprise to many patients, but your teeth are actually a little bit flexible: they need to be to absorb the forces of chewing. Metal amalgam, unfortunately, isn’t very flexible at all. Over time the difference between tooth and filling can result in microfractures of the tooth. These small cracks, like the gap left between cement and filling, are hotspots for bacteria. Without treatment microfractures can lead to substantial damage to your filled teeth, especially because they’re so hard to notice!
Dental composite fillings are designed with flexibility in mind. They actually move a lot like your natural teeth to preserve proper force distribution, keeping your teeth healthier and safer for far longer. This is an important advancement in tooth restoration technology, allowing you to get a look that’s more natural, long lasting, and that doesn’t cause stress or damage to your teeth.
Dental Fillings That Look Great And Last!
Our Houston dentist office is dedicated to providing you the best in dental restoration technology. We prefer to place composite fillings when possible but there are always circumstances that may require the placement of different materials.
Determining which filling type is best for you will be determined when you come to Precise Dental Of Houston for an assessment of your oral health and needs. We’ll gladly discuss your options with you so that you don’t just get the care you need: you get the care you want!