When patients hear that they have a cavity in need of a filling, a flash of metal is the first thing that comes to mind. Metal and silver amalgam, once considered the go-to materials for dental fillings, have since fallen out of favor. Dr. Vi Mai, a family dentist who offers dental fillings in Garland, TX, explains how and why composite resin has replaced metal as the preferred filling material in modern dentistry.
The FDA Weighs In…and Out…and In Again
It’s no secret that the Food and Drug Administration once openly endorsed metal fillings. In fact, the glint of metal can still be found in many a mouth, maybe even your own. At one point, the FDA backtracked a bit, adding a caveat suggesting that while metal fillings serve most patients well, neither young children nor pregnant women should receive metal fillings. By the time 2009 rolled around, the FDA had changed its tune again, downplaying these risks. Just as the dental community prepared taking this decree to heart, a 2010 statement reflected another flip-flop, upgrading the risk for amalgam fillings from “low to no risk” to “higher risk,” where it stands today.
Advantages of Composite Resin Fillings
Risks aside, composite resin fillings offer several advantages over traditional amalgam fillings. When you visit our office for a filling, Dr. Mai will carefully remove all traces of decay and debris from within the affected tooth. Compared to metal fillings, composite resin requires your dentist to remove less of the healthy tooth structure to accommodate the material. After preparing the tooth, Dr. Mai will fill the cavity with resin and allow it to cure and harden. Once hardened, the filling is gently sculpted to give the appearance of a natural tooth. The material can be shaded to match your natural tooth color, too, making it less conspicuous than metal. Resin is hypoallergenic, so you need not worry about metal allergies or traces of harmful mercury. We also use resin for dental bonding, a cosmetic procedure that masks badly stained, chipped, or cracked teeth.
Do you need a dental filling in Garland, TX? To learn more about restorative dentistry, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vi Mai, contact our office at (972) 530-0552. We treat patients of all ages, and our staff speaks English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Dr. Mai welcomes patients living in Wylie, Murphy, Allen, Dallas, Plano, and the surrounding areas.