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Metal Fillings vs. White Dental Fillings

By Eugene D. Stanislaus on August 22, 2011


When you have a cavity, it’s important that you get a filling as soon as possible. Tooth decay can eat away at the structure of your tooth, leading to a number of major dental problems down the line. Left untreated, tooth decay can weaken a tooth, lead to chipping or cracking of a tooth, and can even cause tooth loss. (Now you know why people stress the importance of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist twice a year.)

When you meet with Brooklyn Heights cosmetic dentist Dr. Eugene D. Stanislaus, he and his team will be sure to perform a comprehensive examination. This will help identify any potential cavities and cavities in progress. When treating these cavities, Dr. Stanislaus prefers to use white fillings as opposed to the metal fillings of the past. There are plenty of reasons for doing this, and we’d like to touch on these matters briefly right now.

It may be best to first distinguish between the two type of fillings. Metal fillings are the common filling used I the past. These involved the use of a metal substance that was set into the cavity after the tooth had been prepared. (Preparation for a filling basically means the removal of decayed tooth structure.) White fillings, by contrast, involve the use of a ceramic dental composite material.

White fillings offer a number of different advantages over the metal fillings. The most obvious advantage is that white fillings blend in with the color of your existing teeth. They don’t stand out like metal fillings do, and many patients appreciate this a great deal.

In addition to the aesthetic advantages, however, there are also many dental health benefits as well. For one, metal fillings of the past can expand and contract slightly with fluctuations in temperature. This can lead to some damage of the tooth structure since the metal filling is not always stable. White fillings will not be subject to such fluctuations due to temperature. Placing white fillings requires less removal of tooth structure than placing metal fillings, which is an important concern for the lasting health of the tooth. The more natural tooth structure you can maintain, the better. In some cases, metal fillings also contained mercury, which is a harmful substance and highly toxic. White fillings contain no harmful substances.

It’s for these reasons that Dr. Stanislaus has decided to use white fillings at his practice. And in fact, some patients have asked to have their metal fillings replaced with white fillings for just such reasons.

We ought to note that dental fillings are not always best for all kinds of tooth decay. More serious degrees of tooth decay will require different treatments. These include inlays, onlays, and Brooklyn Heights dental crowns. Inlays and onlays are like large dental fillings in that they involve the use of composite materials to rebuild the structure and surface of a badly decayed tooth. Dental crowns are caps that fitted over the damaged or decayed tooth, protecting it from further harm, restoring tooth structure and bite strength, and providing an aesthetically appealing appearance.

To learn more about dental fillings and your many options for dealing with tooth decay and dental injuries, contact our Brooklyn Heights family cosmetic dentistry practice today.

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