Why Do We Place Tooth-Colored Fillings?

What are some of the major advantages of tooth-colored fillings?

Tooth-colored fillings are the material of choice in my practice for several reasons. First, they are more conservative. When I’m cleaning out a tooth, I remove the decay. If I’m using a tooth-colored filling, I can bond that filling right to place. With a silver filling, I have to remove more tooth structure to create undercuts to mechanically retain that filling, so it’s a more aggressive procedure.

Also, because the tooth-colored material does bond to the tooth, it holds the tooth together and actually strengthens the tooth. Silver fillings just basically fill the hole, and over time they actually expand, and so they weaken the tooth. Because tooth-colored filling materials have no mercury, you don’t have to worry about the concern of mercury, which you do with silver, and the esthetics speak for themselves. Tooth-colored fillings virtually blend into the tooth. You don’t even know that they’re there.

The silver fillings are pretty obvious and usually unsightly. We replace silver fillings all the time either because they’re worn out or they have recurrent decay, but I have patients who elect to have them removed because they just don’t want that silver in their mouth anymore.

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