Traditionally, dentists have used what’s known as amalgam, or special metal alloys, to fill cavities. However, modern dental medicine has advanced to the point that Dr. Fili can offer Dubuque patients a much better option for filling holes caused by tooth decay: composite fillings. At Dubuque Periodontics, we would like to educate you on the benefits of tooth-colored, composite fillings, so please let this article serve as your personal fillings fact sheet.
The History of Fillings
Once upon a time, the choices for dental restoration materials were limited. Records dating back as far as 659 A.D. tell us that amalgams (mixtures of silver, mercury, tin, and/or copper) have been used widely for more than 1300 years. There have been a number of scientific disputes (referred to as the amalgam war) over the health concerns of using mercury, but the American Dental Association has always defended the safety of amalgam fillings. Until recently, amalgam fillings were favored because of their strength, resilience, and relative ease of preparation and placement. In spite of their positive qualities, amalgams have three main drawbacks:
- They are not aesthetically pleasing, may corrode or stain teeth
- They require the removal of some healthy tooth structure
- They expand and contract, which can cause teeth to crack