Biocompatible Dental Fillings
What is the big fuss about biocompatible dental fillings? Aren’t all dental fillings the same? What’s the difference between the silver ones and the white ones?
If you think all fillings are the same, then you are like most people – including some dentists. On this page, we hope to enlighten you on the different types of fillings. Our hope is you spend some time absorbing the information that we have provided for you. This will empower you as you embark on your dental journey because making one wrong decision may cost you a lot of money and pain in the future.
Welcome to the dental filling FAQ where you can test you filling IQ.
What are dental fillings?
A dental fillings is a restoration that fills the space that is lost due to tooth decay, a fracture, or a naturally-occurring hole or defect in a tooth.
The filling material itself can be used as a glue, cement, or for cosmetic purposes, sometimes referred to as “Bonding” or “Composite Veneers.”
What Are The Different Types of Dental Fillings?
The most common types are metal and plastic. The metal kinds are usually a mixture of metals that include mercury while others contain more gold and may be made “outside” of the mouth and then glued in. These could be mistaken as “onlay” restorations. Plastic fillings are also otherwise known as composite or resin fillings. This white or tooth-colored filling is usually made up of resin and other fillers to get the desired properties such as color, handling, durability and longevity.
How are fillings done?
All dentists are taught how to do fillings in dental school. This procedure begins by removing the decayed part of the tooth which is called the preparation phase, then the dentist fills this space of the tooth. Once filled, the filling is shaped and polished to look like and act like the normal tooth.
How long do fillings last?
The answer really depends on a lot of factors. However, it heavily relies on the craftsmanship of the dentist and the chosen material used for the filling. So when a dentist is asked, they could say anywhere from 7-12 years. Filing materials do improve over the years, and they should last longer than average, if done correctly.
How Do Fillings Fail?
Was the filling placed well to begin with? Or was it the wrong restoration to begin with? These are the questions that you need to ask. When fillings fail they fall out or leak and then decay creeps in. There are many different possible outcomes, so trusting your dentist’s recommendations and relying on their craftsmanship should be high on your list.
Are sealants good for you?
Dental sealants are a special form of restoration that is very similar in look and composition to composite resin fillings. They are usually proposed to seal areas of the teeth that are susceptible to decay.
This material contains toxic ingredients such as BPA derivatives. BPA is known to promote carcinogenesis of breast cancer by affecting the environment surrounding mammary epithelial cells. Therefore, we believe that they are not safe.
Are The Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings Safe?
Our answer is no. Mercury fillings contain mercury which is a known poison that kills human cells. It is known to release toxic mercury vapor at body temperature, and that release increases as temperature rises.
Many dentists believe that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe to use since this was what they learned in dental school, and some would even argue that this material is stable, does not leak and has been used for a long time. It is a cheap material that lasts.
Our office has never placed these types of fillings. In fact, we focus heavy on removing them from our patients’ mouths. We are well equipped with the right technology to do so as safely as possible for our patients, our staff and the environment.
Can Tooth Decay be reversed? If so, they do I still need a filling?
In our office, the first thing we do is determine the extent of the decay. Then we figure out why and how the decay started. Lastly, we see if the decay is progressing. Only then can we see if the cavity can be reversed. If the cavity cannot be reversed, then we would usually recommend a filling.
Does getting a filling hurt?
It depends. If we talk and if it is recommended to get numbed for comfort-sake, then we will use the most biocompatible anesthetic possible. Fortunately, most of our fillings are done with our Fotona laser as opposed to a drill. Using our specialized techniques, we are able to do the whole procedure with numbing and without the patient feeling any pain. Our patients love it!
Do You Use Ozone?
Yes! We love what ozone does for cavities, big and small. It is part of our laser filling protocol as it not only kills bacteria that causes decay, but it also prevents sensitivity.
Are fillings safe?
If done with care and precision, yes it is.
The issue of safety may stem from the materials used for the filling. The filling may contain hormone-mimicking compounds that make some patients react. Another issue could be the bonding agent used to attach the tooth to the filling. It is important for you and your dentist to discuss which dental materials are best for you.
Recent advances in technology and public awareness have brought more biocompatible materials to the market. For sensitive patients, our office uses products from DRM and Voco.
Filling failures are caused by factors such as sloppy technique and cheap but poor quality materials. When fillings fail they may cause leakage causing unforeseen decay which lead to a crown, a root canal or an extraction. Our office aims to make the initial filling done perfectly to save time, valuable tooth structure and most importantly, money.
Now, wouldn’t it be smarter to find a dentist who takes his or her time and uses the best materials? It may cost more up front, but it will cost much less in the long run.
“That was the best dental experience I’ve ever had! I cannot believe I wasn’t numb. You guys are cool.”
Laser Filling at the gumline of a lower left molar
The Use Of Lasers IN Our Fillings
The benefits of the Fotona Lightwalker laser:
- No numbing needed
- Improved tooth surface for bonding
- No whining drill sounds
- Safe removal of gum tissues
- Minimal tooth damage
- Conservative tooth removal
Before and After
In this example, there was a rather small mercury filling. What you may not notice are the cavities (which could not be seen on the x-rays). The is a deep cavity on the biting surface and another cavity below the gumline.
Our Fotona laser was used to clear the gums (it will grow back and look normal in 2 weeks). It is crucial that no moisture from the gum pocket contaminate our bonding surface.