Common Types of Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are the first line of treatment for decay and other tooth damage. After drilling out the damaged portion of a tooth, our dentist fills the resulting space with the material chosen by patients. Our dentist offers both mercury amalgam fillings and composite fillings to resolve the problem and address other goals, such as preservation of appearance.
Mercury Amalgam Fillings
This is the filling type with the longest history of use. In fact, dentists have been using mercury amalgam for more than two centuries for a variety of treatments. Composed of about half mercury and half other metals, such as tin, silver or copper, mercury amalgam is durable and safe yet easily formed to treatment areas. These fillings can last for more than a decade, but they expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and may, as a result, eventually compromise the structure of teeth. Over time, discoloration can also develop in teeth filled with mercury amalgam.
More patients are choosing tooth-colored fillings over mercury fillings for their aesthetic properties and perceived superiority over mercury amalgam fillings in terms of impact on health. Also called composite fillings, these do not require as much removal of tooth structure and do not expand or contract with temperature changes. Tooth-colored fillings can be tinted to match surrounding enamel and can last for about half as long as mercury amalgam fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings can be especially beneficial for repairing front teeth so that the smile is unaffected. To learn more about our options for this treatment, patients can schedule a consultation with our expert in dental fillings in San Fernando Valley.
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