Patients are often quite curious about why we offer tooth-colored fillings in place of metal ones. To some extent, the immediate benefit is obvious: Those crafted from metal look extremely obvious and can even darken the appearance of your tooth, while those crafted with composite are undetectable and allow your tooth to look natural and restored. Beyond the esthetic value, however, we would like to provide you with some additional information about why we tend to suggest a white dental filling for our patients.
Biocompatible Dentistry Is Safer
The term “biocompatible” sounds complicated but it really just means something that will not cause harm to organic, living tissues. In the case of dentistry, this means that we rely on materials and treatments (such as tooth-colored fillings) that will restore and protect your teeth, gums, and other tissue – rather than leading to potential complications. Consider the following ways metal (not biocompatible) may lead to issues that composite (biocompatible) will not:
- Some people are simply allergic to metal, which can result in severe reactions
- Metal fillings include mercury, a substance that is known for potential traces of toxicity – this can lead to serious problems for certain individuals, such as pregnant women and very young children
Metal Responds To Temperature
There are a couple things that happen with metal that you will not need to worry about with tooth-colored fillings. You see, metal expands in heat and contracts in response to cold. This may result in uncomfortable tooth sensitivity. As a result of growing and shrinking, such a filling may also damage your tooth or provide a small amount of entrance into your tooth (where bacteria may invade). Composite, however, does not experience these changes, which makes it a good fit for your tooth.