Metal fillings are a very old technology. They have been used for over a century because they were better than the alternatives available at the time. However, new technology means that we have an alternative: attractive, tooth-colored fillings. These fillings aren’t just good for new cavities–we can use them to replace old metal amalgam or gold fillings so you can enjoy a bright, healthy-looking smile.
Why Replace Metal Fillings?
The main reason to replace metal fillings is that they look unattractive, especially in the front of your mouth. Gold or amalgam fillings tell the world that your teeth are unhealthy. This is especially true of metal amalgam fillings, which may start silver, but often rust into a deep black that looks as bad as or worse than the cavity they are fillings.
However, it’s not just the appearance of metal fillings that can be problematic. Many people find that this type of filling is associated with sensitivity to hot and cold foods. That’s because metal is a very good conductor, and it conveys the temperature changes into the tooth, past the insulating tooth enamel. Metal amalgam can be even worse than gold in this situation, because it tends to expand and contract rapidly with temperature changes. This means they can expose the tooth nerve to pressure as well as temperature changes. Plus, the repeated pressure of expansion and contraction can lead to tiny cracking around the filling.
Some people are also irritated by a metallic taste associated with metal fillings. You might notice it when you eat or drink, but it might also develop spontaneously. Some people experience slight electric currents in their mouths related to their metal fillings. These could occur spontaneously, or might pop up when you put a metal fork or spoon in your mouth. They aren’t usually enough to shock you, but might tingle a little.
And, of course, there are people who are uncomfortable with metal fillings. You might experience related health effects, or perhaps you just don’t like having metal (especially mercury) in your mouth.
Replacing your metal fillings with tooth-colored fillings can help minimize or eliminate these effects.
How We Replace Metal Fillings
Replacing metal fillings is often a simple process. We remove the old filling and put in a new composite tooth-colored filling. Composite fillings can be placed, hardened, and polished in a single visit. You can come in with metal fillings and leave with new tooth-colored fillings.
However, sometimes the metal fillings are too large to replace with composite. Again, this is usually related to metal amalgam fillings. Metal amalgam fillings are often large, and replacing them with a composite filling would weaken the tooth further. In this situation, we recommend ceramic fillings, like inlays or onlays. These are not only beautiful fillings–the most like natural enamel–they are very durable and strong. The advanced ceramic used for these fillings is even stronger than tooth enamel, and they can restore lost strength to a damaged tooth.
Other times, a metal amalgam filling can cause your entire tooth to become discolored. In this case, replacing the filling isn’t enough–we will recommend covering the tooth with a veneer or dental crown.
Your Beautifully Restored Smile Is Waiting
Are you unhappy with the appearance of metal fillings in your front teeth? Let us replace them with more attractive and more comfortable tooth-colored fillings. Please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with Burke, VA cosmetic dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban.