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Dental Fillings: aka Amalgam Fillings, Composite Fillings, Cavities, Tooth Fillings, Cosmetic Fillings


What is it?


Most people require dental fillings at some point in their life to fill a cavity. Most cavities are caused by tooth decay in the tooth area. Dentists help fill cavity by removing decay that forms in the teeth and filling it with amalgam or silver fillings and composite fillings or dental bonding. There are many new choices available for lucky individuals today that have a cavity. If you haven’t taken such good care of your teeth or happen to have poor health or a chronic health condition, the good news is dental care has made huge leaps and bounds in recent years.


There is much more to the process of restorative dentistry than appears to the eye. For starters, many people have traditional amalgam or sliver and metal fillings (like gold fillings). These are very obvious fittings and often blacken with time. These are not very attractive for many people and do not look natural.


Many people prefer composite resin dental fillings. These are small white fillings that are made to look like natural dental fillings. They most closely resemble the colors and shapes of traditional teeth, so it is hard to tell them apart if placed correctly in the mouth. Most are crafted of plastic dental resin although there are brands that come from porcelain, like porcelain dental veneers. These are much more expensive however and not always necessary.


The Operation


Often during the procedure a dentist will provide patients with a local anesthetic in the gum area to numb the area completely. If you do not feel numb enough speak out, because this agent affects people in different ways. Next once the dentist is confident you are comfortable, he or she will prepare to access the decayed part of your tooth and will remove these areas.


Traditionally drilling is the most popular tool for this. Sometimes other tools are used as well. Usually with a complete composite filling the dentist will be able to preserve more of the natural tooth as the composite resin can be bonded between the layers. If your tooth’s decayed areas are closed to a nerve, a new special liner must be used to protect the nerve.


Alternatives to Surgery


Fillings are a great alternative to surgery if you are a good candidate for them. Not everyone is. If you are someone that plans to care for your teeth and can stop smoking for a few days then you will do well with surgery. You need to be in a supportive environment. You need to feel good about yourself for eating healthy and well to nourish your body and not punish it.


Amalgam fillings contain mercury, and there is no real evidence as to its safety. There are some people that still believe it is dangerous to your health and even small amounts ingested can contribute to many different diseases including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. The FDS has not been able to prove this would happen in silver fillings; however amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury liquid and small pieces of other metals including copper, zinc and tin.


Before the Operation


Usually no advanced preparation is needed. Your doctor may advise you to brush your teeth and eat a light meal prior to surgery.


After the Operation- In the Hospital


Prepare to have someone drive your home from your procedure as you may be feeling nauseous and still under the influence of some medications from surgery.


After the Procedure- At Home


You will likely remain numb or feel some tingling in your face or mouth around the area where the numbing anesthetic was injected. This will where of in the one or two hours following the procedure.


Possible Complications


You may need to replace your dental cap or crown at least once during your lifetime and likely more often than this. It is important you keep your cap religiously clean to avoid any further decay that may get in under the cap or crown.


General Advice


Be sure to search for a cosmetic surgeon with the experience and training that makes you feel confident. Also, it is important to consider that cosmetic surgery is a permanent decision, so be sure to evaluate all of your available options before completing your decision making process.


Estimated Costs for Dental Fillings


Dental fillings are a less expensive option than some other forms of cosmetic surgery. Composite fillings are more expensive than silver or amalgam fillings, and insurance companies are not likely to pick up the full price tag because of this, but usually they will pay for part of the cost of a composite filling. Composite fillings can cost up to twice as much as amalgam fillings in some cases.


Many people are willing to pay for composite fillings because they are much more natural looking than amalgam fillings. Some people worry because amalgam fillings are sometimes 50 percent silver and 50 percent mercury. While the mercury in amalgam fillings is not supposed to be harmful or leak out of the filling, and studies suggest it is safe and does not cause harm, many people do not want to take this risk and instead prefer the composite filling.


Be sure to find a competent cosmetic dentist familiar with placing composite fillings if you plan to have your cavities filled with composite.


Country Cost
USA $100-150
Brazil $40-100
Costa Rica $50-75
South Africa $100
Thailand $30-50

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