Part of dentistry has long been the filling in of cavities, and it is a common reason for seeing a Newport Beach dentist. But what some individuals might not know is that this procedure has changed and improved significantly over the years. Let’s look back at how fillings have become safer and more dependable since the days of their inception.


Early Fillings


A metal alloy was initially used to fill in cavities. It was called dental amalgam. It was made of mostly silver, which is where the term “silver fillings” originated. As a Newport Beach dentist would be quick to point out, though, they were up to fifty percent mercury as well. As most people know, mercury is toxic, so this led to all sorts of health problems. For these sorts of fillings, undercutting was often required as well. This is where extra tooth matter was removed so that there was a better position in which the mixture could stay.


Newer Composite


Newer versions of tooth composite are colored the same as your original teeth, so they are nowhere near as noticeable. With white, translucent composite, most people will never be able to tell that you had a cavity filled. The material is made of silica and plastic, and it bonds with your teeth quickly and securely. Fillings made of this composite also have smoother margins. That means that plaque cannot build around the settings like it could with the silver/mercury versions.


Other Options


Some dentists will offer gold fillings, which are hard and durable. There are also porcelain fillings, called ceramics. They look the same as composite versions, but they are resistant to staining so that they stay whiter. They can be more abrasive, however, and some people don’t like the sensation of having to touch them with their tongue. These versions also cost more money than the standard composite.


If you need to get cavities filled, you can rest assured that a Newport Beach dentist will be gentle, and the pain will be minimal. The process will undoubtedly be much less invasive than it was years ago when options were more limited, and the results were far from guaranteed. It’s incredible to think how far the oral care industry has come, and it should be fascinating to see where it’s headed in the coming years.