Dental fillings are made of durable, long-lasting materials, but sometimes they can become discolored. If you feel your fillings have become worn, stained, discolored, or are otherwise unattractive, ask your dentist about having them replaced with new, tooth-colored fillings.
Why Replace Fillings?
There are several reasons why you might decide to have your dental fillings replaced. If your fillings are old, particularly if they’re metal amalgam fillings, they can become discolored over time. If you have metal fillings placed where they are visible when you smile, you might not like the way they look. In addition, some people are concerned about the fact that the dental amalgam used in metal fillings contains mercury.
If you’re unhappy with the way your fillings look, or if they’ve been damaged, cracked, or chipped, talk to your dentist about the options for replacement. You might choose to have them replaced with new amalgam fillings, or you might consider tooth-colored fillings. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, so be sure to ask your dentist which choice is best for you.
Types of Fillings
There are three major types of dental fillings:
- Metal amalgam fillings
- Porcelain fillings
- Tooth-colored composite fillings
Metal amalgam and tooth-colored resin fillings can be placed in a single dental appointment. Porcelain fillings must be made in an off-site lab to exactly fit the space that needs to be filled in your tooth. Many people prefer tooth-colored fillings, and composite fillings are a very popular option. Porcelain is less popular since it tends to be more expensive.
Tooth-colored fillings are durable, though they don’t generally last as long as metal amalgam. However, they also bond to the tooth and are less likely to cause damage by expanding and contracting when exposed to changing temperatures, as amalgam fillings do. They are also less sensitive to temperature, since they are non-conductive. Ask our dentist what option is best for you to replace your old, unattractive fillings.