Dental fillings help damaged teeth go back to their normal function and shape. Aside from aesthetics and functionality, fillings can also help prevent further tooth decay.
Fillings complete the external tooth structure. The materials for filling in the missing shape are usually made from:
- Composite resins
- Porcelain fillings
- Gold fillings
Why dental amalgam is still being used?
As you’ve noticed, amalgam is still on the list. Although amalgam contains elemental mercury (exposure to high levels of mercury can lead to brain and kidney problems), amalgam is the least expensive and the strongest option among the fillings.
In addition, proper placement by an experienced dentist can minimise the risks associated with elemental mercury. In fact, FDA considers dental amalgam fillings to be safe for adults and children (ages 6 and above).
However, some children may have adverse allergies against amalgam (may cause oral lesions and other contact reactions). It’s advisable to look for other options if your child has such allergies.
Aside from the health risks associated with amalgam, it’s also known for poor aesthetics. Its silvery appearance alone is enough for many patients to reject this option.
That’s why there are now white fillings that blend nicely with natural teeth colour (dentists can blend shades to achieve the desired colour). These white fillings may even improve the “whiteness” of your teeth. Whether it’s blending or improving the tooth’s appearance, composite fillings are recommended for individuals with a priority on costs and aesthetics.
Replacing your old fillings
Fillings are strong and last for many years. However, constant assault due to eating and drinking can wear away the fillings. Chipped, crooked or worn away fillings can cause the following:
- Poor aesthetics (uneven, cracked or chipped tooth appearance)
- Bacteria build-up and further tooth decay
Damage to the fillings can make bacteria enter further. The areas damaged will then be thriving with bacteria while being inaccessible to brushing. The resulting decay might then lead to root canal treatment or possible loss of the tooth.
That’s why regular dental examinations are important. The dentist will use an instrument such as explorer to early spot damages and weak spots. If the filling is found to be compromised, the dentist will replace it before it can lead to costly and extensive procedures.
How do you know if your child needs a filling or root canal?
Only the dentist can determine which option is appropriate. That’s because there’s a need for thorough examination (to know the type and extent of tooth damage).
For instance, the root canal procedure might be required if the child experiences teeth pain (can come and go throughout the day or whenever you’re eating). This means the damage goes beyond the surface of the tooth (pulp tissue is already infected or inflamed).
Here’s the first step
The first step is to visit a dentist and let him or her examine your child’s teeth. Then, the dentist will determine if fillings or a root canal treatment is more appropriate.
If it’s about dental fillings, you can ask us here at Rickard Dental Centre about the options. We will provide you with the pros and cons of each option before starting the procedure.