Fillings are used to restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay.
In the past, fillings were made primarily out of amalgam. This alloy, contains mercury, silver, tin, copper, and traces of other metals. Amalgam fillings have been used for 150 years. However, disadvantages of amalgam have prompted the use of composite resin, a tooth-colored, plastic alternative.
Disadvantages to Amalgam Fillings
They don’t blend with your surrounding teeth because they are dark metallic
They can corrode and leak over time
They expand and contract due to variations in temperature, and this causes potential fracturing of your tooth
They expose your body to the heavy metal mercury, which can lead to health issues depending on the amount of exposure and your level of sensitivity
Appreciating the disadvantages to metal fillings, Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans prefer using the metal-free alternative, composite resin fillings.
Composite resin fillings are made from glass or quartz filler that is added to a resin medium, making the end product natural-looking. A composite resin filling is custom tinted to match the color of the tooth in which it will reside, and it’s permanently bonded in place.
Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up teeth. Enamel is the hard outer surface that protects the underlying layers. It is also the hardest and most mineralized substance in your body.
Ninety-six percent of tooth enamel is composed of minerals, while the remaining percentage consists of water and organic material. The main mineral in enamel is hydroxylapatite which is also known as crystalline calcium phosphate.
The Role of Tooth Enamel
The main role of tooth enamel is to protect the soft layer of dentin. Enamel also serves as a hard surface for chewing, grinding, and crushing food.
Enamel is semi-translucent and porous. Eating dark foods and drinking dark beverages, such as red wines, coffee, or soda, can cause the enamel to discolor and stain. Smoking, age, and certain medications also cause tooth stains. A beautiful smile is a white smile, so if your teeth are stained, consider professional, safe teeth whitening prescribed by Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans.
Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it is susceptible to damage. The food you eat contains sugars and starches, and when these components mix with saliva, they form acid. The acid extracts minerals from tooth enamel, weakening it. Then bacteria invade and cause decay, or cavities. Acidic foods, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages, also erode tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel doesn’t remain soft forever. Saliva will remineralize and re-harden the enamel within 30 minutes to an hour after you stop eating and drinking. Continue reading “Getting To Know Your Tooth Enamel”→