Merrimack Valley Dentistry is a metal-free practice, using only the highest quality of composite (tooth-colored) materials when providing your dental fillings. Composite fillings not only strengthen and restore your teeth but also improve the aesthetics of your smile by changing their color or reshaping a disfigured tooth. We invite you to call us at 978-957-1898 to learn more about the benefits of composite dental fillings in Dracut, Massachusetts, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Jason Pujo.
Composite fillings are made of a white or tooth-colored mixture of plastic and glass. Our dentist frequently uses this type of filling to restore decayed teeth and improve your oral health. Advantages of composite fillings include:
- A stronger bond to teeth
- Versatility in tooth repair
- Blend in with your teeth to give you a natural appearance
Since 2004, we have provided only composite fillings in our practice. The majority of our patients are thrilled by this, but we do occasionally get questions as to why we no longer offer metal fillings.
Here are a few of the reasons why we no longer use amalgam:
- Cracked and broken teeth. Because amalgam fillings are made of metal, they expand with heat and contract with cold much faster than the tooth in which they are placed. This eventually causes the tooth to crack, and then to break. Composite fillings do not break teeth. In fact, composite fillings actually reinforce teeth to give you a strong, functional restoration, and can stabilize cracked teeth before they break.
- Amalgam leaks. As the silver filling ages, it breaks down and the margins (or seams) where it meets the tooth open, allowing bacteria to invade and create a new cavity. This cavity often goes undetected and may result in the patient needing a root canal. While composite fillings eventually lose their seal with the tooth as well, it is easily visible and can be quickly treated before further problems develop.
- Amalgam fillings contain mercury. While it is physically contained in the mixture and the filling is generally safe for use, mercury will escape if the filling is drilled out. White composite fillings do not contain any mercury. Additionally, the filling material we use does not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), making it an exceptionally healthy treatment overall.
Merrimack Valley Dentistry also receives many questions about the cost of composite fillings. For example, why do they cost more, and why does insurance not typically cover both composite and amalgam fillings? The answers are simple:
- Composite manufacturers spend large amounts of money on research and development to continually improve the materials used. Ultimately, the goal is to make composite fillings comparable to enamel. This makes composite fillings more expensive than amalgam.
- Composite material is much more difficult to work with. Amalgam fillings can be paced into a “wet” field, meaning that they will work even if water, saliva, or blood are incorporated into the material during placement. Composite fillings require a controlled environment, and contamination by saliva or blood will cause the filling to fail. Composite fillings require greater skill and training.
- Insurance companies are not in the business of paying for the best dental care for you. Dental insurance is designed to minimize the time you miss work due to dental problems – in most situations, your employer is the one who determines which dental plan you have. As a result, insurance companies have little interest in paying out for composite fillings as well as amalgam fillings. In all likelihood, the only way an insurance company will pay for composites on back teeth as well as silver fillings is when your policy has a rider to cover them at the typical 80% “basic” rate.
For more information about the benefits of composite dental fillings, and to schedule an appointment with our experienced dentist, please contact our office today.