You brush and floss each day to prevent cavities, but sometimes teeth suffer decay anyway. Fortunately, cavities are easy to treat. Dental fillings are used to restore the structure of teeth damaged by decay. 

However, not all dental fillings are alike! They are made with different materials, some of which are better for your mouth than others. Are fillings good for your teeth, What are the best and worst types of dental fillings and which should you choose for your mouth?

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are used routinely in dental treatments to reverse cavities and decay. After the portion of your tooth affected by the cavity is cleaned and removed, a filling is added to “fill” the resulting empty space or hole. 

Why Do You Need a Filling?

It’s tempting to ignore a small cavity in your mouth, but cavities wreak havoc on your oral health and trigger many dangerous side effects. Consider these potential consequences of leaving a cavity untreated:

  • Severe pain and discomfort from the decaying tooth
  • Tooth abscess
  • Trouble chewing
  • Tooth loss
  • Gingivitis and gum disease

It’s not worth the risk! One simple dental filling can preserve your oral health and save your tooth. 

The Worst Dental Fillings: Amalgam Mercury Fillings

What are tooth filling material side effects?

Silver fillings contain 50% mercury, as well as other heavy metals like tin, zinc, copper, and silver. Mercury exists naturally in the earth’s crust and enters the human food chain, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, mercury is a highly toxic element with such serious health consequences that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that no level of mercury exposure is safe.

Signs of Mercury Poisoning

Mercury affects the body differently based on type, dose, length of exposure, and age of the person exposed. 

If a baby is exposed to mercury in the womb, it may experience brain and nervous system defects. Impaired neurological development is the most common health effect of mercury exposure, which leads to many severe complications:

  • Cognitive thinking delays
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Language delays
  • Fine motor and visual spatial skill deficiencies

As Americans, our most dangerous form of mercury exposure doesn’t come from amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings. That’s right- your very own dental fillings create a steady flow of mercury vapors through your body. 

How Mercury Fillings Poison the Body

If you have an amalgam filling, mercury vapors spread through your body every time you chew, brush, or drink a hot beverage. 

Those vapors pass easily through cells and into the bloodstream. This means mercury can seep into every cell it contacts to cause serious health consequences.

These common symptoms of mercury poisoning indicate dangers to your body:

  • Frequent headaches 
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Vision problems
  • Sinusitis
  • Memory problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

Finally, mercury is also associated with serious diseases like Alzheimer’s, thyroid disorder, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Other Cons of Mercury Fillings

Just in case all of that wasn’t enough to turn you away from silver fillings, these dental fillings are also known to make teeth darker and weaker over time. They become an eyesore, especially in highly visible areas of the mouth. 

The Best Types of Dental Fillings: Composite and Porcelain Fillings

The best and most popular types of fillings are composite and porcelain fillings. Both of these options offer their own benefits for patients with cavities.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are made of glass and acrylic resin. As tooth-colored fillings, they are customized to closely match the teeth being filled. The composite material bonds directly to the tooth structure, which lends extra strength and support to the damaged tooth. 

Porcelain Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings contain porcelain, so they’re durable and attractive. Even though ceramic fillings come at a higher price point, many patients are happy to pay extra for dental fillings that are safe, resistant to staining, and aesthetically pleasing.

Talk It Over With Your Dentist

There’s no one right or wrong answer for everybody; the best dental fillings for your mouth depend on the condition of your teeth, your preferences, and other factors. The world-class team at Arvada Dental Center is here to help to evaluate your options and determine the best path forward to restore the health of your teeth with dental fillings.

Call Arvada Dental Center today to schedule your first appointment and protect your smile.