A few decades back, silver amalgam fillings were the only option available to dentists for the restoration of crooked or carious teeth. However, in addition to their unaesthetic metallic appearance, research has shown that these metallic fillings are not safe for your dental and overall health. At Lifeworks Dental, we take pride in being a completely mercury-free dental practice. We also recommend that existing silver amalgam fillings must be replaced with newer materials which are not only safer but also aesthetically more pleasing.
What are the Drawbacks of Silver Amalgam Fillings?
Here are few reasons why we don’t recommend amalgam fillings at Lifeworks Dental:
- Safety Concerns – more than 50% of amalgam fillings is comprised of mercury, which leaches out of the filling and enters the blood, lungs and digestive system. In any form, mercury released from amalgam fillings has been shown to be harmful to the human body.
- Esthetic Problems – amalgam fillings have a metallic appearance, which is not acceptable for many patients, especially when it is used for restoring front teeth. In addition, silver amalgam fillings become tarnished and tend to lose their luster with time, thereby adding to the aesthetic problems.
- Non-Conservative – amalgam fillings require removal of considerable healthy natural tooth structure for their placement and retention. Therefore, at Lifeworks Dental, we prefer materials which require the minimal sacrifice of natural tooth structure for their placement.
What are the Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings?
If you have amalgam fillings, then there is no need to worry! At Lifeworks Dental, we offer several options which are more esthetic and conservative than amalgam fillings:
Directly Bonded Resin Fillings
These are resin-based tooth colored filling materials which can be directly bonded to the tooth structure. Due to their ability to exactly match the color and shade of the teeth, they provide excellent esthetics. In addition, composite fillings do not require extensive tooth removal and possess sufficient strength and durability.
Unlike the direct fillings which are done at the chairside, these restorations are prepared in the dental laboratory and then bonded to the teeth. These include inlays and onlays. An inlay is an indirect restoration which is used for restoring chewing surfaces of back teeth or used in places where it is not possible to place a direct filling. An onlay, on the other hand, is used for restoration of more extensive defects which involve the cusps of teeth.
- Porcelain Inlays and Onlays – highly esthetic and durable porcelain restorations, and are an excellent alternative to the amalgam fillings. These restorations are fabricated in the lab, and then directly bonded to the teeth.
- Composite Inlays and Onlays – these indirect restorations and made from resin-based materials. Like the porcelain inlays and onlays, they are prepared in the lab and then attached to the teeth. Compared to porcelain, resin inlays and onlays are more cost-effective, however, they have comparatively shorter life-spans and also more prone to staining.
Who Can Benefit from Tooth Colored Restorations/ Inlays and Onlays?
Tooth-colored bonded fillings or indirect restorations are suitable for the treatment of following restorative problems:
- Replacement of old amalgam fillings
- Repair/ replacement of filling which fractured or frequently gets dislodged
- Extensive teeth cavities which cannot be restored with direct fillings
- To strengthen weakened teeth
How are Inlays and Onlays Prepared?
- Removal of Old Amalgam Fillings – during the first step, we will remove your existing amalgam fillings.
- Tooth Preparation Afterwards, the teeth will be prepared for the attachment of the inlays or onlays. In most cases, very slight tooth structure is removed. Therefore, administration of local anesthesia is usually not needed.
- Impression Making – an impression of your teeth will be recorded, which will then be sent to the laboratory, along with information regarding the shade and color of the patient’ natural teeth. While the inlays or onlays are being prepared, we will restore the prepared teeth with temporary restorations.
- Cementing the Restorations – after checking the prepared restorations for fit, accuracy, and aesthetics, they will be permanently attached to the teeth by using an adhesive cement. That’s it! Enjoy your brand new smile.
What are the Advantages of Tooth Colored Restoration/ Mercury Free Inlays and Onlays?
Porcelain or composite Inlays and onlays possess several obvious benefits over the amalgam and other direct fillings:
- Superior Esthetics – since inlays and onlays are fabricated in the laboratory, they have excellent esthetics and shade matching with the natural teeth.
- Accuracy – inlays, and onlays are prepared under controlled and precise conditions in a dental laboratory. Therefore, they have a superior fit and retention, minimizing the chances for development of secondary cavities.
- Durability – due to their superior design, inlays and onlays are more durable than direct fillings.
The satisfaction and comfort of our patient is our primary goal. If you’re looking for the best dentist in Memoria Area, then Lifeworks Dental should be your first choice. We are family dentistry practice, and we specialize in providing high quality and gentle dental services to our patients. Whether you need braces for your child, or you need a dental crown after a root canal treatment, we provide general and cosmetic dentistry services under one roof. Visit us today, and let us give you a beautiful and charming smile.