If you have had a cavity in the past, there is a good possibility your cavity was filled with an amalgam filling. Amalgam fillings, also known as metal fillings, have been used for more than 150 years because they are affordable and effective. However, recently there has been a great deal of debate surrounding the safety of metal fillings. The largest concern is due to mercury exposure, which is said to be released over time. Not to mention, metal fillings are quite noticeable. Now, many people are considering replacing their metal fillings with a composite filling. As your dentist in Nashville, we understand your concerns. We have the information you need to make an educated decision for your oral health.
Are Metal Fillings Safe?
Metal fillings have held a common place in the dental industry because they are proven effective. Metal fillings are composed of small amounts of various metals, such as mercury, zinc, and copper. The use of mercury is where the concern lies.
There are some reports that claim exposure to mercury from fillings can increase the risk for health complications, such as cancer. While large exposure to mercury can cause negative implications on health, the amount of mercury found in metal fillings is minimal. As a result, the American Dental Association still supports the use of amalgam fillings. Despite recent concerns, the American Dental Association says the concerns are unfounded as the fillings have been proven safe.
Should I Choose a Composite Filling?
Even with the support of the American Dental Association and dentists around the nation, many still have hesitations about metal fillings. If you are considering having your metal fillings removed and replaced with a composite filling, it really boils down to personal preference.
One of the biggest drawbacks of metal fillings is the fact they cause an eyesore in your smile. The highly noticeable fillings can cause confidence issues, especially as a tooth may discolor if the metal seeps into a tooth. Not to mention, many report tooth sensitivity when a metal filling is exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
On the other hand, a composite filling is made to match your enamel color so it will blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. You will not have to worry about your tooth darkening as the years go on. There is also less discomfort when the filling is exposed to hot and cold temperatures. While composite fillings are durable and effective, they may not last as long as a metal filling. In addition, composite fillings tend to cost more than metal fillings.
How Can I Replace My Filling?
If you are interested in replacing a metal filling with a composite filling, the process is simple. Removing the old filling is performed similarly to removing tooth decay. Your tooth will then be cleaned and the composite resin material will be applied to your tooth. Then, a special light is used to quickly harden the filling.