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Dental Health and Tooth Fillings

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Cast Gold Fillings

Advantages of cast gold fillings:
 

  1. Durability -- lasts at least 10 to 15 years and usually longer; doesn't corrode
  2. Strength -- can withstand chewing forces
  3. Aesthetics -- some patients find gold more pleasing to the eye than silver, amalgam fillings.

Disadvantages of cast gold fillings:

  1. Expense -- gold cast fillings cost more than other materials; up to 10 times higher than cost of silver amalgam filings.
  2. Additional office visits -- requires at least two office visits to place
  3. Galvanic shock -- a gold filling placed immediately next to a silver, amalgam filling may cause a sharp pain (galvanic shock) to occur. The interaction between the metals and saliva causes an electric current to occur. It's a rare occurrence, however.
  4. Aesthetics -- most patients dislike metal "colored" fillings and prefer fillings that match the rest of the tooth.

Silver Fillings (Amalgams)

Advantages of silver fillings:
 

  1. Durability -- silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and usually outlasts composite (tooth-colored) fillings.
  2. Strength -- can withstand chewing forces
  3. Expense -- is less expensive than composite fillings

Disadvantages of silver fillings: 

  1. Poor aesthetics -- silver fillings don't match the color of natural teeth.
  2. Destruction of more tooth structure -- healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling.
  3. Discoloration -- amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.
  4. Cracks and fractures -- although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids, which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack or fracture, amalgam material -- in comparison with other filling materials -- may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.
  5. Allergic reactions -- a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present in amalgam restorations.

 

Tooth-colored Composites

Advantages of composites:

  1. Aesthetics -- the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.
  2. Bonding to tooth structure -- composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
  3. Versatility -- in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
  4. Tooth-sparing preparation -- sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.
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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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