In the modern era, any visit to a dentist is not too much about trying to salvage what's left of a tooth due to a problem, but how to effectively repair and replace, like-for-like. Decades ago, the dentist would have fewer choices when it came to saving these teeth and if they were able to leave them in place, they would often have to replace the decay with a far from ideal material known as an amalgam. Technology has certainly made the dental office a better place instead and the fillings of today are very different. Why is this and how is it beneficial?
The original amalgams "back in the day" were made mostly from metal, as they were designed to be hard wearing and purely functional. Experts know now that these metals could in certain circumstances cause health issues as they reacted with the body's natural defences. Furthermore, they were usually a different colour compared to the surrounding teeth and were as such very visible.
Today, the materials used in the composition of a filling are made to match as much as possible the original tooth and have been determined to be much safer from a health perspective. These restorations are made from composite resins or porcelains and bond to the natural dentin and enamel very well. The finished result is as strong as the original tooth and is able to cope with considerable biting forces during mastication.
The new fillings blend in particularly well and it will be very difficult to see any difference to the casual eye. It's even possible to manufacture porcelain in a specific colour or shade that can be even more closely matched to the existing teeth of the patient.
How This Works
For this to work properly, the host tooth has to be first sealed using a coating that is made of resin, which enables a strong and very safe bond to be created. This also helps to avoid the natural tendency of the material to shrink and allows a dentist to place tiny layers of composite on top, so that the shape of the tooth can be defined correctly.
Picking Up the Phone
If you haven't been to the dentist for some time, but are worried that you will end up with a mouthful of "obvious" fillings, you can be assured that this is not the case. Have a word with your dentist and see how they can help to recreate your appearance and function.
Hello, my name is Jack. I am now 79 years old. As you can imagine, my teeth have taken something of a battering over the years. I lost a couple of teeth in a bar fight, four more decayed and one had to be extracted when it became infected. After losing so many teeth, my dentist suggested that I have dentures fitted. I was worried about this but my dentist was really great. He helped explain the procedure and then did an excellent job. I love my new dentures and I wanted to start this blog to offer help to others.