Dental fillings (otherwise referred to as amalgams) are the most common type of restorative dental procedure performed by our dentist in Armadale.
Up until 15 years ago, Amalgam or gold inlays were the material of choice for dental fillings.
Nowadays however, these two metals have fallen out of favour, replaced with newer, more modern solutions.
A dentist in Armadale explains the history of gold and silver dental fillings
The choice of filling material is crucial, as it is responsible for protecting the sensitive insides of your teeth from infection following tooth decay or cavities.
It can also can eventually result in toothache, infection, and even complete tooth loss.
And as we mentioned above, up until approximately 15 years ago, gold and amalgam were the preferred type of dental filling.
Gold fillings were considered to be one of the best filling materials, as gold is virtually immune to corrosion and rust. Considering that this is your mouth we’re talking about, this is a major selling point.
Thanks to this, gold fillings can easily last several decades.
What’s more, gold is a “soft” metal. It’s extremely malleable compared to something like steel, making it easy to work with.
Gold has become out of favour because they are unsightly and are very expensive.
Amalgam (silver) fillings
While silver is one of the ingredients, it isn’t the only one – these fillings also include metals such as tin, copper and mercury, which is why we call them amalgams (as in, amalgamation).
Amalgam fillings were also a popular choice, because they were
Thanks to the silver component, amalgams are less prone to rust or decay, making them strong and long-lasting.
However, the main reason amalgams were so much more popular than gold is the price!
Why don’t we use gold and silver anymore?
The answer is simple: there are better options now!
Both of these former dental staples came with a couple of disadvantages.
Let’s start with gold. For starters, gold is expensive, coming in at up to 10 times more expensive than a silver amalgam.
Silver amalgams aren’t perfect either. For starters, they don’t last quite as long as gold. Another disadvantage of this type of dental filling is how it tends to darken over time.
Finally, both types of dental fillings are extremely noticeable – it’s pretty hard to miss the shiny metal sitting in your teeth.
If you want something subtler, these two choices aren’t really an option!
Luckily, there are modern solutions that are just as strong, and which don’t stand out.
What we use today: modern tooth fillings
Of course, just because gold and silver have fallen out of favour doesn’t mean that the need for dental fillings has stopped.
In fact, with more sugar in our diets than ever before, the need for dental fillings has never been higher!
So, what sort of dental filling materials are we using today to repair your teeth?
Composite resin (plastics)
Made of acrylic resin and powdered glass, composite fillings have one huge advantage over traditional gold and silver: they can be coloured to match your teeth.
You might hear others referring to inlays, or Cerec restorations.
However, composites can also “shrink” as they are set, making them less suited for bigger fillings.
Of course, that isn’t a problem for less severe cases of tooth decay. Minor decay, as well as cracks and fractures can be remedied using composites, without dramas
For bigger cases however, our dentist in Armadale instead recommends…
Porcelain is the gold to composite resin’s silver amalgam. It’s the high-end option, designed to last longer and resist more pressure than composite.
These fillings are considerably harder than composite, while still blending in excellengly with the surrounding teeth.
Imagine a filling with the strength and durability of gold, but with the added benefit of a seamless appearance – no one will ever realise you have a filling at all.
Furthermore, with modern bonding techniques, there’s no need to remove a lot of tooth structure to accommodate your filling.
And unlike ceramic, porcelain doesn’t shrink, making it suitable for large fillings. In particular, they’re great choices for molar teeth, which have large, flat crowns that are more prone to decay.
At Dental Care Group, our team of dental health experts don’t just provide dental fillings – we can also replace existing ones if they decay.
Each type of filling has a finite lifespan, which is why it’s so important that you book regular dental check-ups. During follow-up appointments, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your existing fillings, replacing them if necessary.
We don’t just replace old, worn-out fillings either.
If you have an existing gold or silver filling and would like to replace it with an invisible composite or porcelain filling. Your teeth will be left looking like there was never a problem at all!
Need cosmetic dentistry? Visit our dentist in Armadale!
Dental Care Group provides a range of cosmetic and restorative dental treatments that repair and restore your damaged and decayed teeth. In addition to fillings and amalgam removal, we also offer:
- Dental fillings
- Restoring broken teeth
- Teeth whitening
- Veneers and crowns
- Dental implants