In the past amalgam fillings used to be placed as standard, and at the time they were an extremely good choice. However things have moved on since then and nowadays most people would choose to have cosmetic tooth coloured fillings that are made from composite resin. Obviously the huge advantage of choosing these composite resin fillings over amalgam fillings is that they are virtually undetectable. One of the major problems with amalgam fillings that they can make it appear as if your teeth are stained or discoloured, and they do create dark areas in the mouth that can look quite unsightly.
In contrast tooth coloured fillings blend in beautifully with your natural teeth, and modern materials mean they are able to be used to replace quite large areas of decay. In the past this wasn’t really the case and composite resin tend to be kept for fillings right in the front of the mouth. This is because the materials simply weren’t strong enough to withstand the pressure created through biting and chewing. Nowadays it’s a much healthier alternative to having amalgam fillings, and another huge benefit is the way the material reacts with your natural teeth as it will not flex or expand and contract at a different rate. This was another problem with amalgam fillings, as whenever you ate or drank something hot or cold this caused the amalgam to expand or contract, and as a result it could end up causing tiny fractures in your teeth, weakening the remaining tooth structure.
If you still have older style amalgam fillings in your mouth, then it’s probably nothing to be worried about as long as they are still functional. This material has been in use for more than 150 years and consists of several different metals which include tin, copper and silver, but around half the weight of an amalgam filling is made up of mercury. The whole reason for using mercury is that it’s a very good material for binding all the metals together, and it’s part of the reason why amalgam is such a hard wearing and durable material. But the mercury content is something that does concern many people even though it’s considered safe for use. Leeds City Dentalcare, your friendly cosmetic dentist in Leeds, doesn’t necessarily recommend removing old amalgam fillings that are still viable, but we do find that many people are choosing more aesthetically pleasing cosmetic resin fillings as their replacements.
Composite resin is a very versatile material, and it’s perfect for restoring small to medium-size areas of decay. It may not always be suitable for large areas of decay, as the tooth is likely to need more support. This is something that could be provided in the form of a crown, or we may recommend having an inlay or onlay. This is something that we can do for you in just one visit if you choose to opt for a CEREC restoration. The process uses computerised technology to produce beautiful restorations that are milled from a single block of material, and all without the need for any dental impressions. Dr David Brown or another of our dentists at our Leeds surgery will be able to discuss all the options with you, if or when you need a filling, or an older filling replaced.