Most of the time if patients come to our office looking to restore their white smiles, they are interested in professional teeth whitening. If you are looking to remove stains, that is an excellent solution.
However, tooth decay can cause your teeth or parts of your tooth to turn colors, too. This isn’t a stain, so whitening products aren’t going to be helpful in this situation. But we do offer a solution at Sunrise Dental, tooth-colored fillings.The patients at our offices in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh don’t have to settle for metallic-looking amalgam fillings. Instead, they can have their cavities filled and their smiles restored at the same time.What Are Amalgam Fillings?Dental amalgam has been used for 150 years to repair and protect teeth that were damaged by cavities.From a functional standpoint, amalgam did its job. It filled the hole created when tooth decay damaged a tooth. After the decay was removed from the tooth, the dentist would use the mixture to occupy that space.By doing this, the dentist preserved the function of the tooth and sealed the tooth. This reduced the odds that bacteria would be able to attack the tooth again in the same place.One of the benefits of amalgam was that it was (and still is) less expensive than gold to use as a filling material.What Is Amalgam?This is where some people have become more concerned in recent years.Amalgam is made with a mixture of metals. About half of the amalgam blend is mercury. The other half may be a combination of copper, silver, and tin.Now matter how you mix it, they are 100 percent metal and it shows when you have them on your teeth.Many people are alarmed to learn that mercury has been placed directly into a tooth and that it remains there for the life of the filling.The Food and Drug Administration has noted that high levels of mercury vapor exposure can have harmful effects on the brain and kidneys. However, the FDA has also reported that no studies have shown any harm as a result of amalgam fillings. The American Dental Association also has issued a statement noting that current research has not found evidence of health hazards from having mercury fillings.Nevertheless, we know that many patients would prefer to avoid mercury completely.What Are White Fillings?Regardless of whatever health risk mercury fillings may or may not pose, we know our patients may not want to broadcast to the world that they had a cavity. In a sense, that’s what the distinctive silvery shine of amalgam fillings does.Tooth-colored fillings use no metals whatsoever. White fillings are made of a composite material, which is a blend of glass and plastic. These can be created to closely match the color of natural teeth.When you receive a white filling, it will blend with your tooth. Many people will never notice it since it looks so much like part of your tooth.Should You Replace Your Amalgam Fillings?This is a decision you have to make for yourself.We’ve shared the FDA and ADA opinions that amalgam fillings are safe. From a cosmetic standpoint, only you can decide if you are OK with the contrast of the silver fillings next to your white teeth.We are more than willing to replace your fillings to ease any concerns you may have or to improve the overall appearance of your smile.That said, there are times when any dentist will agree that fillings need to be replaced. As useful as they are, no one has yet designed a permanent filling.Over time, all fillings will become worn down and worn out.Sometimes, this will cause them to chip and small pieces will fall off. Other times, a crack will form in the filling which will slowly spread. Another risk is that the filling will start to separate from the tooth or even fall out.Don’t Take Chances With An Old FillingAny of these situations could expose your tooth to a new attack from the bacteria that cause cavities. If you see signs that your filling is on its last legs, then you should contact any Sunrise Dental location to schedule an appointment for a new filling.We have four offices in the Triangle, so you can probably find one that close to home or where you work. You can reach us through our website or by calling whichever office you prefer.No matter which location you choose, our staff will treat you with the courtesy and care that you deserve.