How Dental Fillings Have Changed

If you’ve gotten a dental filling sometime during your life, you’re not alone. More than 92 percent of Americans have experienced tooth decay, and the most common treatment for the cavities decay leaves behind is a dental filling.

However, your options if you need a filling today are far more varied than they were even a decade ago. Modern technology has resulted in less stressful and more effective ways of preserving your tooth’s structure.

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The Evolution Of Dental Fillings

Throughout the middle of the 20th century the most common filling material was a silver-mercury amalgam. These fillings tended to be durable, but the presence of mercury, even in small quantities, raised health concerns among consumers.

As dentistry advanced in the late 20th century, more options became available. Tooth-colored composite fillings meant patients’ dental work was no longer obvious to others. Other alternatives to the amalgam filling included porcelain, gold, or ceramic dental fillings.

Treatments and technologies continue to advance. More recent treatments for cavities have had the advantage of technologies that reduce the amount of local anesthetic or drilling needed to place a filling. Innovations in laser dentistry allow dentists to shape the space for a filling painlessly and nearly silently. The emerging technology of cold plasma treatment with a plasma brush will eventually allow for the tooth needing a dental filling to be rapidly disinfected and for the bond between the filling and the tooth to be greatly enhanced.

“Fillings continue to be one of the most common dental restorations provided,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix and the founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “But the process of preparing and installing a dental filling has changed considerably. Our practice can explain how it works, and how you may benefit.”

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