More than 90% of the adult population in the United States experiences cavities in their lifetime. A full quarter of them have more than one dental filling. Even with the best dentistry available, it may be difficult to avoid the future need for this treatment. Understanding today’s options and the future of dental fillings will equip you to work with your dentist and determine the right solutions for you.
Problems With Historical Dental Fillings
People with cavities have received fillings made from a variety of different materials over the years. The earliest modern ones used from the 1800s on were made of amalgam, which is a combination of a few different types of metal like tin and silver. These contained small amounts of mercury, a toxic metal, which is known to have cause many health concerns. These fillings are also hazardous to the environment.
At present, most regular fillings are made from a composite material without dangerous substances in them. They are safe, generally affordable, and white, so they can be used in visible locations in the mouth. These common options protect exposed parts of a tooth with a cavity but do nothing to improve the overall health of a patient’s mouth.
Dental Technology is Always Improving
The future of dental fillings continues to introduce new options to the market. While ordinary composite materials are vastly improved over amalgam, dentists want better choices for their patients all the time. Oral health and increasing interest in cosmetic dentistry has led to a variety of advancements. These include nano options, improved tooth bonding, and more moldable forms used to correct chipped or cracked teeth.
Bioactive Glass — Regrowing Healthy Teeth
Dentists and patients alike have dreamed of regrowing damaged teeth for the whole history of dental care. That is now becoming a reality as researchers develop bioactive glass composites. The first term in their name refers to the material’s ability to replace minerals and actually regrow teeth. This unique type of filling, which is made of crushed glass with interactive properties, also blocks damage caused by bacteria and prevents cavities from forming.
Instead of using a composite one that fills a whole but does nothing to protect the leftover tooth, bioactive glass does both at the same time. While it may sound almost magical, the science behind these future dental filling varieties makes sense. If you introduce the calcium and phosphorus that makes up teeth on a material that oral bacteria do not like, the overall result is a much healthier and stronger mouth.
Dental technology and science continue to improve at a rapid rate. With so many people needing dental fillings every year, it makes sense to explore and understand the options. The future of this common dental procedure is transforming the way professionals help their patients. Speak with a Sahara dentist about the best options to achieve a beautiful and healthy smile.