Dental amalgam has been used for decades as a means to repair dental decay. If a tooth had a cavity, the dentist drilled away the decay and filled the opening with a glob of silver that was smoothed over. But over the past twenty or so years there has been deep discussion about the safety of using amalgam due to the fact that it does contain mercury. The introduction of mercury free fillings has provided a safe and effective alternative to dental amalgam.
Composite resin is comprised of plastic that is applied to the tooth in layers. It is safe, and since it is tooth colored, it provides a nearly invisible repair. Many patients are opting to have their old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with the more aesthetically appealing composite resin.
Teeth extremely damaged by decay may require more extensive treatment such as a dental crown. The decayed tooth is filed down and covered with a crown to protect it. This is a superior option to extraction, and is usually done when additional treatment places saving the tooth at risk.
It goes without saying that decay prevention is far a superior option. There are steps that can be taken to try to make that a reality:
Dental sealants: Sealants are applied during the dental visit to teeth unaffected by decay. The material is painted on to the chewing surfaces filling in the pits and openings that naturally appear on the tooth’s surface. The sealant literally prevents bacteria from permeating the tooth’s surface where decay often starts.
Fluoride: In today’s world of drinking bottled water and other beverages, tap water (a large source of fluoride) might not be sufficient for strengthening dental enamel. Your dentist can offer fluoride treatments to supplement patients that need it.
Brushing: The wide array of pastes, gels, and brushing tools means there is something out there that will work best for you. An electronic toothbrush is ideal, and coupled with a fluoridated paste, you should brush at least twice every day.
Flossing: Daily flossing removes food debris your toothbrush missed. Plus it stimulates gum tissue enhancing your dental health.
Dental visits: Twice yearly dental visits for all family members are a critical component for dental health.
If decay does occur, repair with tooth colored composite resin (mercury free) is a superior solution over dental amalgam.
Do you have further questions? Ask our team at Richardson Dentistry by calling our office at (972) 218-0078 today.