Nobody is excited about getting a cavity filled. Fortunately, however, due to advances in modern dental technology, the process is way easier than it used to be. What's more, depending on the type of filling, the results don't have to be obvious to the world. Unlike the dark, silver-mercury fillings of days gone by, composite or ceramic fillings leave your newly restored tooth virtually indistinguishable from its next-door neighbors.
That means you can smile, laugh, and cheer without fear that the people around you will be counting your fillings.
But that's not the only advantage to leaving amalgam fillings behind. In addition to the aesthetic aspect, there are practical benefits to considering bonded composite and porcelain fillings instead of mercury-silver.
For one thing, composite fillings bond directly to your tooth structure, ensuring a more stable connection and decreasing the likelihood that the filling will eventually fall out. Bonded fillings can actually strengthen a tooth. Silver-mercury fillings, on the other hand, are not chemically bonded to the enamel and and can weaken the tooth.
There are pros and cons to all kinds of fillings. Talk to your dentist about the best recommendation for your particular situation.
Peter J. Samuels DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.