How Dental Filings Have Changed - Vita Dental Spring
Spring TX

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How Dental Filings Have Changed

How Dental Filings Have Changed 150 150 Tony

How Dental Filings Have Changed

When you have a cavity, your dentist will usually examine your tooth and determine whether it should be removed or filled. With modern filling technology, you will have various options from which to pick. However, this was not always the case. Dental fillings have been around for a long time and some of the materials used were not always the best for the human body. Here is a brief look at how fillings have changed from primitive forms to the modern one that we at Vita Dental Spring offer.

The Early Fillings

Fillings have been around for thousands of years. The oldest filling was 10,000 years old. It was discovered in a set of molars in Pakistan. Another discovery, about 6500 years old, found beeswax was used as filling for a young Italian man.

During the 19th century, the use of metals to fill teeth became quite common. The materials used included silver, mercury, gold, and tin. As time went by, the use of dental amalgams became quite popular. The amalgams were usually a blend of tin, copper, mercury, and silver. Within two decades of introduction, concerns over mercury were raised. The effects were mercury poisoning, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.

Modern Amalgams

Given the concern over the original mercury fillings, modern fillings have been tweaked to be safe. The modern fillings, like those we use at Vita Dental Spring, are called silver fillings. However, they still contain mercury. This mercury is chemically bound to other metals, thus lowering the amount of mercury the body can absorb. In fact, the technology is so good that the amount of mercury the body absorbs is less than that in the water, air, and food.

The mercury is important in modern fillings since it makes the material used for fillings more malleable. Besides that, mercury is hardy and can handle most of the modern stresses we place on teeth. Additionally, mercury is quite cheap and durable compared to all other options that exist. Besides that, it is easy to apply, which means it takes less time to apply than other options.

Modern Filling Choices

In the past, you could only settle for amalgam, which was a problem since it was not the same color as teeth. Thus, everyone could tell that you had some work done on your teeth. Today, the choices have grown quite a lot:

  • Porcelain

Fillings made of porcelain resemble the color of teeth. They are an awesome option for those that would like a natural look on teeth that do not qualify for composite fillings. However, they are quite fragile compared to other materials.

These fillings are also called indirect fillings, which means they are not applied directly to teeth. Instead, a mold of your teeth is taken and sent to a dental lab. The dental lab will then come up with an inlay or a replacement for the tooth. Since the mold has to be taken to a special lab, these types of fillings can take much longer and require more than a single dental visit.

  • Gold

Gold fillings are also considered to be indirect fillings. They require more than a single dental visit to complete. These fillings are quite costly. However, they are also very durable and can last for many decades.

  • Composite

These fillings are also called white fillings. They are made of acrylic and powdered glass. The acrylic can be color matched to the existing teeth. This allows it to blend in with a smile when placed in visible locations. It makes the white filling appealing if you want the natural look.

Once a tooth has been prepared, the composite material will be applied in layers. It is then hardened using special light. When the layers have all been complete, the resin is ground to fit the contours of the tooth. It is then polished to protect it from wear and stains.

Composite fillings are not as tough as metal fillings. These are best used on teeth that do not handle much of your chewing. On teeth that can use composite fillings, they can restore up to 90% of the original strength of the tooth.

Laser Technology

Part of getting fillings is the needles and getting teeth drilled. For some, this is too uncomfortable. However, dental technology has come a long way. Today, there is dental laser surgery, which ensures that the tooth can be prepared even without shots. Besides that, it saves time and more than one tooth can be prepared per session. If you have a phobia for sedation or needles, this could be a great way to get your fillings.


If you have a cavity, do not waste any more time, go to the Vita Dental Spring dentist. The sooner it can be cleaned and filled, the more likely it can be saved. Having the tooth extracted or ignoring the cavity could lead to serious health complications with time. Get in touch with us at Vita Dental Spring if you are in Spring, Texas. We can help you get quality dental fillings.