Silver fillings or “dental amalgam” is a filling material that has been used to fill cavities since it was first introduced in the early 1800’s. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, copper, and zinc. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight, which when blended with the metals was considered to become inert and safe in the mouth. Amalgam fillings were the dental standard for nearly two centuries. It was easy to place, durable, and relatively inexpensive. As better research was developed in the 1980’s, concerns were raised about the true safety of the mercury. Also, other alternative filling materials, which we knew to be safer, were being developed.
Today, there are other materials that can be used by dentists for fillings. Gold, composite resins, porcelains and zirconias are other materials that do not just patch a tooth, but truly RESTORE it. That is restore not only its function, but also it’s natural appearance and youthful beauty. The way these materials are attached to the teeth is a revolutionary shift in dentistry. Old silver fillings are just “stuffed” in a hole in the tooth. That is why so often when the tooth has been hollowed out for a silver filling, creating a shell of enamel around the silver, part of that shell of enamel crack and falls off. Then you need caps and often root canals, etc. On the other hand, the new esthetic materials are strongly bonded to the tooth, which restores not only function and beauty, but returns most of the original strength to the tooth. It has been shown that a large silver filling reduces the strength of a tooth by about 30%! Bonded esthetic fillings return the tooth to 80% or more!
If you are in search of fillings in Houston, TX, look no further. Call West Houston Dental Center today for more information, or to schedule an appointment!