Freese & Bengtson Family Dentistry, PLLC

Fillings in Concord NH

Dental Fillings

A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used artificially to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. Dental restorations may be fabricated out of a variety of materials:

Dental Amalgam

Dental Amalgam is a commonly used dental filling that has been used for over 150 years. It is a mixture of metals: silver, copper, tin and mercury. Amalgam has many advantages over other restorative material, such as low cost, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effects.

Amalgam is used in dentistry for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use and manipulate during placement; it remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any irregular volume, and then forms a hard compound. Amalgam possesses greater longevity than other direct restorative materials, such as composite. On average, most amalgam restorations serve for 10 to 12 years, whereas resin-based composites may serve for about half that time.  However, with recent improvements in composite material science and a better understanding of the technique-sensitivity of placement, it should be noted that this difference is decreasing.

There are circumstances in which composite (tooth-colored fillings) serves better than amalgam. When amalgam is not indicated, or when a more conservative preparation would be beneficial, composite is the recommended restorative material. These situations would include small occlusal(biting surface) restorations, in which amalgam would require the removal of a more sound tooth structure, as well as in more esthetically visible sites.

The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.

Dental composites

Dental composites are also called “white fillings” or “tooth-colored” fillings. Crowns and inlays can also be made in the laboratory from dental composites. These materials are similar to those used in direct fillings and are tooth colored. Their strength and durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they are more prone to wear and discoloration .

Many people still have amalgam fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings may not be particularly pleasing to one’s eye, and may also develop a gray shadowing effect or corrosion staining around its margins. The patient now has more esthetic options to improve these constraints. These include porcelain inlays, onlays and crowns and composite based inlays and fillings. These restorations can be aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.

Disadvantages Of Silver Fillings

Silver fillings may have drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break.  This may result in the tooth not being protected and create an environment where cavities get started once again.  With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, can split and cause corrosion staining.

The patient may opt to replace their silver fillings safely with tooth-colored restorations.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations

There are potential advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Patients may not desire to see any metal exposed in their mouth. Tooth colored restorations are bonded to existing tooth structure which may increase the strength of the tooth. The patient needs to also understand that, depending on the location of the restoration regarding wear etc., the longevity of the tooth colored restoration may be greater or lesser that that of an amalgam restoration.

Tooth colored restorations have given dentists many more options to help create a beautiful smile!

Learn More About Dental Fillings

For more information, or to make an appointment, call 603-228-3384 today!