There are two basic choices of fillings when you have a cavity. You can have metal fillings, which are made from a silver-mercury amalgam, or you can have white fillings, which are made from new, high-tech composite materials.
Dr. Goldstein prefers to do the white fillings, because of their numerous advantages:
- He doesn’t have to drill away nearly as much of the tooth structure for a white filling.
- The new high-tech composites that are used for fillings actually bond to your tooth, making your tooth stronger and more resistant to breaking or cracking.
- With the composite bonded to your tooth, the margin is sealed. Amalgam leaves a tiny gap between the filling and the tooth, which permits the entry of bacteria and irritants.
- There is almost no post-operative sensitivity with white fillings.
- Many people are concerned with the safety issues of having a silver-mercury amalgam permanently placed in their mouth.
- White fillings are much more attractive. When you laugh or talk, the chewing surfaces of all your teeth may be visible to your friends. They can see your amalgam fillings which, as they age, turn black and are unattractive.
Why don’t all dentists prefer white fillings:
- They are much more difficult to place. They require a sophisticated bonding technology that often requires extra training for the dentist beyond dental school. Many dentists don’t feel the motivation to pursue this extra training once they have their license and can legally perform any treatment.
- Some dentists may be out-of-date in their information, relying on research from the 1980s and early 1990s when white fillings were not as durable as they are today.
In the first photograph are teeth with old silver amalgam fillings. The second photograph shows those fillings
replaced with white composite. Not only do these teeth look better, but they are now more resistant to fracture, because the composite is bonded to the teeth.
Fillings are for small cavities where the tooth is not weakened. If there is large decay or large old fillings, your tooth could be in danger of breaking and, in that case, you would need a crown. Dr. Goldstein creates beautiful porcelain crowns that look just like your natural tooth.