There are lots
of reasons for undertaking dental procedures. It can be for
maintenance, treatment of disease, or even for cosmetic reasons.
Here we look at procedures used to repair teeth that have been
damaged by disease and disorders.
Dental filling is a restorative treatment used to repair tooth
decay, minimal tooth fractures, and other damaged surfaces of
the teeth. Dental filling may also be used to even out teeth
surfaces for better bite. There are many filling materials available,
of which are porcelain and silver amalgam, composite, and glass
and resin ionomers.
Dental amalgams are tried and tested inexpensive restorative
fillings that are used in dentistry for more than a century.
Although its use is decreasing, it continues to be a valued choice
for dentists since it is the most thoroughly researched and tested
Dental amalgams have been metal alloys made from mercury and
metals like, platinum, gold, zinc and cadmium. Modern amalgams
are made from mercury and alloys composed of silver, tin, copper
and small amounts of Zinc, indium and palladium. Although concerns
have been raised about safety of dental amalgams relating to
its mercury content, major international scientific and health
organizations have agreed that dental amalgams are safe, reliable,
and are an effective restorative material.
Alloy components cause oral lesions in both patients and attending
dental personnel, but only rarely. Amalgam removal can resolve
the problem. Another disadvantage of amalgams is the tooth discoloration
they cause. Also, patients may experience short-term hot or cold
sensitivity after the filling is placed.
Composite fillings, sometimes called composites or filled resins,
make good a good alternative to amalgams since it is tooth-colored.
They contain a mixture of glass or quarts, providing good durability
and resistance to fracture. Composite fillings cost moderate
depending on the size of the filling, and are also subject to
discoloration over time.
Alternatives to amalgam fillings
Patients are now searching for aesthetically more acceptable
fillings and refusing amalgam restorations. The latest fillings
in use in the restoration of posterior teeth include resin-based
composites, porcelain- fused- to- metal crowns (PFM), ionomers,
cast gold alloy and all ceramic restorations. These fillings
vary significantly in cost and longevity.