Over the past 40 years, many advances have been made in the materials and techniques used to fill cavities and repair decayed teeth. When fillings were first introduced, they were all made of amalgam, a metal mixture containing mercury. These fillings, which are still used today, are not desirable for a variety of reasons: they are prone to cracking over time, very noticeable – often turning black with age, and contain hazardous mercury. For all of these reasons, dental filling upgrades that use metal-free materials are more popular than ever.
Aside from the reasons listed above, white filling upgrades offer many benefits over amalgam. When you upgrade your metal fillings to porcelain or composite, they are:
- Custom made to create a better seal over your teeth,
- Stronger and harden much more quickly than amalgam
- Match the natural color and sheen of your teeth,
- More stable and don’t expand/contract in extreme hot and cold
- temperatures- which can cause your teeth to be sensitive and weaken over time.
The procedure to replace your amalgam fillings is relatively simple. The amalgam is removed using a dental handpiece under cold water to prevent the mercury from vaporizing. Once the metal is thoroughly removed, an impression of the teeth that need new fillings is taken. This impression is then used to build custom-made porcelain fillings to be put into the amalgam’s place.