I’m writing today to fill you in on … fillings. Almost everyone beyond their early youth has fillings. The goal, of course, is to avoid the need for fillings by taking good care of your teeth and practicing overall good oral hygiene … brushing, flossing, regular check-ups and cleaning (every 6 months), avoiding sodas and other sugar-filled foods and beverages. You all know the “drill,” and speaking of drill… let’s get back to the topic of fillings when you must have one.
The compounds used for fillings have come a long way since the Tin Man. Dentists now use fillings that look much more like natural teeth. These ceramic and polymer compounds are much more esthetically pleasing, especially if they’re visible in your smile. At Lima Dental Associates, we make every effort to match your natural color teeth when we place — or replace a filling.
Patients frequently ask me why an old filling has to be replaced. Over time the seal between the tooth enamel and the restoration (i.e. filling) breaks down and food particles and other decay-causing bacteria works its way under the restoration. Patients then run the risk of developing additional tooth decay, which, left untreated, could progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscess — painful and expensive! It’s much better to catch this early with a replacement filling. Sometimes old fillings simply crack or break and must be replaced.
At times there is still a necessity for amalgam mercury fillings, but we only use it on our patients when we must — for instance, in the back of the mouth where the chewing load is greater and a mercury filling may the only effective way to save and restore the tooth. Many people are aware of the controversy surrounding the safety of mercury. A great deal of research has been conducted on this topic by very reliable scientific bodies like the CDC, the FDA, the World Health Organization and more. They all remain satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material. Even still, the goal is to avoid the “drill,” by caring for your dental health.
If only we could get the Tin Man to do the same, or better yet, to finally have a heart! Keep smiling, sharing and caring.