Dental implants are increasingly becoming the go-to option for replacing a lost tooth or teeth for the right patients. Anyone can lose a tooth, whether it’s due to blunt force injury, disease, or gradual tooth decay over time. If you haven’t lost a tooth (and you aren’t a dentist), you may not even know what a…
Are Metal-Free Fillings as Strong as Metal Fillings?
Metal-free fillings are becoming increasingly popular for people who have cavities. Before you get one of these fillings, you want to know about the strength. You might think that fillings must contain metal to be strong and durable, but that is not the case. Learn more about the strength that composite fillings offer.
Strength and metal-free fillings
Composite fillings strengthen and stabilize natural teeth. In many ways, these fillings are stronger than metal fillings. Get the details to learn how composite fillings can toughen teeth.
Maintain more of the natural tooth structure
Before placing metal fillings, dentists must remove a large amount of the natural tooth structure. This weakens the tooth and makes it more prone to cracks and breaks. Also, it makes it more difficult to complete future dental restorations. If the tooth becomes decayed again, the dentist might have to use a crown to stabilize and restore it.
Dentists do not have to remove nearly as much of the tooth before placing composite fillings. They do not have to shape the hole left behind by the decay, so the damaged area can be removed and the filling placed. Teeth filled with composite resin are less likely to break or crack because the tooth is much stronger.
Filling bonds to the teeth
Composite fillings bond to the existing tooth structure. This provides additional strength to the tooth. Instead of treating the filling like a foreign object, it becomes part of the tooth.
Stability of the filling
When looking at the strength of fillings, one must also consider if the fillings expand and contract. The size of metal fillings changes based on the temperature. Expanding and contracting can damage the teeth. The filled tooth can crack and harm the surrounding teeth. Composite resin fillings do not expand and contract. This protects the filled tooth and the surrounding teeth from damage.
When patients get metal fillings, they have to follow guidelines during the first several days. People should not eat hard and sticky foods and must floss and brush carefully around the filling. Failure to comply with the instructions can weaken the filling and the tooth. The same is not true for composite fillings. Patients can resume normal activities right after receiving the filling.
How long do fillings last?
While metal-free fillings strengthen teeth, these restorations do not last as long as silver fillings. Silver fillings can last 10-15 years. White composite fillings last 5-10 years in most cases. However, some people manage to keep the fillings for 12 or more years.
Getting metal-free fillings
While composite fillings do not last as long as metal fillings, the restorations are stronger and more durable in many ways. You can keep more of your tooth’s natural structure and the filling will bond to your damaged tooth. Also, it will not contract or expand and you will not have to worry about restrictions. Speak to your dentist about the other benefits of getting composite fillings.
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