Tooth Fillings

We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. If your fillings are in good condition and there is no decay beneath the filling, FDA does not recommend that you have your amalgam fillings removed or replaced. Removing sound amalgam fillings results in unnecessary loss of healthy tooth structure, and exposes you to additional mercury vapor released during the removal process.

These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure.

Our practice restores cavitated teeth with composite/resins. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.

      

REPLACING SILVER/AMALGAM RESTORATIONS WITH TOOTH-COLORED RESTORATIONS

If you wish to replace silver fillings with tooth-colored restorations, there are several options: Composites, Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations

There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Direct and indirect restorations are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.

Differences between direct and indirect restorations 

In the direct restorative materials, the tooth is prepared and the filling material is placed during the same appointment. Direct restorations usually require less destruction of intact tooth tissues than indirect restorations. Direct fillings are appropriate only when sufficient tooth structure remains to maintain the integrity of the restorative material. The greater the loss of tooth structure, the more likely that an indirect restoration is indicated. Amalgam, resin based composite materials, glass ionomer cements are samples of direct restorative materials.

Indirect restorations, such as inlays, onlays, and crowns, are fabricated in a dental laboratory on models made from impressions of the tooth prepared by your dentist. These restorations generally require 2 visits and placement of temporary restorations in the prepared teeth between appointments. In contrast to direct restorative materials, all indirect restorations are cemented as one-piece restorations and so require the removal of all undercuts, undermined tooth structure, and, often, significant amounts of healthy tooth tissues in order to produce parallel walls of the cavity preparation to allow insertion of the restoration and to provide adequate bulk of the material for strength. Indirect composites can have higher filler levels, are cured for longer times and curing shrinkage can be handled in a better way. As a result, they are less prone to shrinkage stress and marginal gaps and have higher levels and depths of cure than direct composites. 

Direct composite/resin restoration:

This process is completed in one appointment 

  1. The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.

  2. The resin is placed in the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth

  3. The tooth is then polished.

Indirect inlay and onlay restoration: 

This process is completed in two appointments

Your First Appointment:

  1. The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.

  2. An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.

  3. A temporary restoration is placed on the tooth.

 

At the Lab: A resin is carefully sculpted into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural. All the shrinkage stress occurs out of the mouth.

 

Your Second Appointment:

  1. The temporary onlay is removed.

  2. A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new restoration.

  3. Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.

  4. The tooth is then polished.