Ever find yourself questioning “What are tooth fillings made of?” Well, tooth fillings are generally made of materials that are compatible with the human body. It took several years for dentists to figure out what material would stay in the mouth without the tissue breaking down or the patient becoming allergic to it in other ways. The other considerations were how the material would tolerate the saliva, pressure from the opposing teeth, and color matching the front teeth. Many materials were developed and tried; however, only one mix of silver and other metals would come to meet the needs that the dentists required for tooth fillings.
What’s in a Tooth Filling?
The silver filling material used today in most dental offices is an alloy or amalgamation of several metals. There is a small amount of mercury to help the powders coagulate. The powdered material consists of copper, tin, and silver. They are mixed with the mercury to make a soft, pliable material that can be put into the cavity to fill the space where the decay was removed. This amalgam is the perfect material as it hardens quickly and is durable. This answers the question of “What are tooth fillings made of?”
This type of filling has been used for over 100 years and is still used today for large fillings. It is considered safe and reliable, but some people that have known sensitivity to metals should consider doing an allergy test before having a large filling placed. Many dentists will use a tooth-colored material even for a larger filling, not just for appearance for the front teeth. Check with your dentist as to which tooth filling material you should have.
Composite or tooth-colored fillings are made of a resin material that sets up immediately with a light or heat lamp type ultra-violet light. The material is a catalyst and a base and must be mixed. In modern, up-to-date offices, the material is in a tube that mixes as it is extruded. Then, it is applied to the cavity filling the space where decay was. The material that is used for back teeth is made of more durable resin and tolerates more pressure from biting and chewing than the front teeth do. Some dentists only use composite or tooth-colored material on all teeth as they do not like the mercury content of the amalgam.
Finding the Right Solution for You
Always check with your dentist to see what material is being used or recommended for you. Every patient is different, and everyone tolerates the materials used differently. Your primary care provider can work with your dentists to find a material that will match your tolerance or sensitivities.
If you are located in the Ogden, UT area and require a tooth filling, come and see us at North View Dental. We have professional, friendly staff and comfortable office. Our dentists can always help to answer your questions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.