Changing Lives Through Cosmetic Dentistry

Changing Lives Through Cosmetic Dentistry in Philadelphia

For many people, appearance can mean a lot for relationships as well as professional life. Some people may be living with a variety of dental issues that can ruin the quality of their teeth and negatively affect their lives because of it. For curing these problems, there are solutions such as cosmetic dentistry in Philadelphia.

Overall Health

One reason to consider improving your dental health is to improve your overall health. Infections in the gums can get into your bloodstream, causing issues throughout the rest of your body. Problems with your teeth may also alter what kinds of foods you eat, and avoiding some foods may make it more difficult to get a balanced diet necessary for good health. For these reasons, if nothing else, people are choosing to take control of their smile and get the help they need.

More Confidence, Better Opportunities

 Another reason people choose to see a Philadelphia cosmetic dentist is for higher self-esteem. This can affect a variety of other parts of your life. It can make you more confident in both romantic and business relationships. In the case of your job, this increased confidence may help you excel at your career and you may look more professional and well put together. Not only will you look more attractive due to your pearly whites, but you will also be more attractive due to your confidence. A winning smile helps you take charge in every aspect of your life.

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

There are many things that dentists can do to change how your smile looks. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • fixing discoloration in the teeth
  • repairing broken teeth
  • replacing missing teeth

No matter what the reason for these issues, it is possible to get them fixed and it is never too late to do so.

Philadelphia cosmetic dental services are helping change people’s lives by letting people reclaim their confidence. Nobody’s teeth are naturally perfect, so let a professional give yours a boost.

Changing Lives through Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about treating cavities or to learn about the newest treatments in the dental industry, contact our dental practice in Philadelphia today. Dentistry at 1818 Market St. is always searching for the best way to ensure patients have an amazing and healthy smile.

8 Ways to Whiten Your Smile

Teeth whitening has become quite popular in the last few years. There are a number of different options available, however not every way works for everyone. Here are eight possible ways to whiten your smile.

8 Ways to Whiten Your Smile

8 Ways to Whiten Your Smile

1. Regular Cleaning: Your yearly dental cleaning is a great place to start in efforts to whiten your smile. These cleanings accomplish a few things such as, remove surface stains, brighten enamel and smooth the tooth surface. These aspects work together to promote oral health and whiter teeth.

2. Custom Bleach Trays: Custom bleach trays contain a whitening prescription that the dentist creates for the patient. The patient is able to keep the trays with them and perform touch-up applications as needed.

3. In Office Treatment: An in office treatment is one of the quickest teeth whitening methods available. It also has long lasting effects, which makes it a worth-while investment.

4. Daily Home Care: Having a proper daily routine of brushing your teeth twice and flossing once per day is an effective way to remove stains and prevent plaque buildup, which helps to keep teeth whiter.

5. Whitening Strips: Over the counter whitening strips have grown in popularity as a whitening method. It can be effective, however it should be noted that if teeth are not straight the strips may not adhere correctly.

6. Avoid Stain-causing Foods:There are certain foods and drinks that cause stains to the teeth such as: coffee, tea, red wine and dark berries. Avoiding such items can help to keep your teeth white.

7. Eat Stain-removing Foods: Certain foods, such as strawberries, apples, carrots and celery help to naturally promote whitening and stain removal. Try to incorporate more of these foods into your diet.

8. Quit Smoking: Tobacco stains are some of the toughest stains to remove from the teeth. Quitting smoking can help to prevent further build up and will help whitening efforts to last.

These are just some of the more common teeth whitening options. For more information and to develop a treatment plan for you, consult with us today! Call us now (215) 567-2666.

Should You Opt for Dental Bonding or Porcelain Veneers?

32338396-xsIf you are looking to fix one or more cosmetic problems in your smile, chances are you will be faced with at least a couple of treatment options. While this allows patients to choose a method of treatment best suited to their needs, it also requires an informed decision. Such is the case with dental bonding and porcelain veneers, which can be used to treat a number of common cosmetic imperfections. These techniques tend to address the same types of problems, but their specific advantages and disadvantages are notably different. In order to help you make the right decision regarding your smile, our Philadelphia dental practice offers the following information on dental bonding vs. porcelain veneers.

What Conditions Do these Techniques Treat?

Dental bonding and porcelain veneers have a wide overlap when it comes to their purpose. In most instances, either treatment option can be used to fix any of the following problems:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Eroded enamel
  • Undersized or misshapen teeth
  • Mild crookedness

However, just because either technique can be used doesn’t mean both are equally effective. In order to choose the more appropriate treatment, patients should consider the nature of the problem, including its size, location, and visibility.

Dental Bonding or Porcelain Veneers?

Visually, porcelain veneers are almost always superior to the composite resin used in dental bonding. This is because porcelain is better able to mimic the aesthetics of tooth enamel and because veneers cover the entire front surfaces of teeth. Due to the price and procedure of veneers, though, patients may not always view them as worthwhile, especially if the cosmetic problem is relatively minor.

Therefore, porcelain veneers are usually recommended for patients with multiple or widespread problems. If many teeth are crooked, for instance, veneers can be used as a form of instant orthodontics. If patients suffer from widespread intrinsic discoloration or significant enamel erosion, veneers will similarly provide satisfying results.

On the other hand, problems that are smaller or restricted to a single tooth may be better solved through dental bonding. A single patch of discoloration can easily be solved through dental bonding while still remaining inconspicuous. Minor chips and cracks are especially good cases for dental bonding, since bonding rebuilds the structure of the tooth rather than covering it.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Bonding vs. Veneers

In order to accurately weigh the potential benefits of dental bonding vs. porcelain veneers, patients should consider all factors of treatment. Even when one option offers better cosmetic results, the procedure itself can be a drawback for certain patients.

The benefits of dental bonding lie primarily in its convenience and practicality. Composite resin is much less expensive than porcelain, making the treatment affordable to most patients. Additionally, the treatment process can usually be completed within an hour, results in little if any discomfort, and does not require any removal of existing tooth tissue. In exchange, composite resin tends to need replacement sooner than porcelain, and may be more visible when used for larger restorations.

Porcelain’s benefits are primarily aesthetic. Veneers are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth, making them an excellent material to completely enhance a tooth’s appearance or create a new smile altogether. In addition to its realistic color and texture, porcelain is also one of the most durable dental materials and is highly resistant to staining. Due to the quality of porcelain, veneers can be prohibitively expensive for some patients. Furthermore, the placement of veneers requires the removal of enamel from the surfaces of teeth, requiring the permanent use of veneers or other restorations in the future.

Which Option Is Right for You?

Even if you fully understand the differences between various treatment options, it can be difficult to make a truly informed decision without the assistance of an experienced cosmetic dentist. By consulting one of our dental professionals, you can learn which technique can best meet your needs and expectations. Schedule an appointment with us to learn all about your cosmetic dentistry options.

Invisalign®: A Patient Treatment Timeline

The team at Dentistry at 1818 has helped patients throughout the greater Philadelphia have healthy, beautiful smiles. One way that this is achieved is through Invisalign®. Invisalign® is a state-of-the-art orthdontic treatment ideal for teens and adults, allowing patients to have a beautiful smile without the hassles of metal braces.

Many patients interested in Invisalign® wonder about the treatment timeline for care and what that entails. Let’s go over the basics right now.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is an alternative to traditional orthodontic braces. Rather than using metal brackets and wires like traditional braces, Invisalign® uses clear plastic trays that are custom molded to fit a patient’s teeth. New Invisalign® aligners are used to help in the gradual realignment of the teeth, much like tightening or adjustment visits may be done for traditional braces treatment.

How long does Invisalign® treatment take?

In general, the Invisalign® treatment process will last around seven months to a year. You’ll note that this is roughly the same amount of time that is required for traditional braces treatment.

With that in mind, the treatment timeline for Invisalign® follows a similar trajectory as other kinds of orthodontic treatments. Treatment is implemented, follow-up visits are scheduled, and the whole treatment process may be adjusted as needed given the nature of the patient’s needs.

During your consultation at the practice, an estimated treatment timeline can be provided based on your needs. What follows below is a general overview of the treatment process that occurs during the course of several months.

The Creation of Custom Invisalign® Aligners

Invisalign® aligners are designed using a special computer model based on an impression of the patient’s teeth. The computer creates different custom aligners in sequence to ensure a precise yet gradual realignment of the teeth along the dental ridge in order to improve the appearance of the smile and overall dental health.

Instructions for Wearing Your Invisalign® Alginers

With every new aligner, patients are expected to wear their trays at all times. Patients should only remove their aligners when eating and drinking or when cleaning their teeth. By keeping the Invisalign® aligners in place, optimal revision of the dental alignment is possible.

New Aligners: Replacing Old Ones Every Two Weeks

Every two weeks, the patient will receive a new custom Invisalign® aligner. The old Invisalign® aligner can be discarded and replaced with the new one, which is worn as much as possible. Discomfort is common in the first few days of wearing the new Invisalign® aligner, but it is manageable and the discomfort diminishes as the teeth shift.

Periodic Visits to Monitor the Progress of Invisalign® Treatment

Every few weeks, patients will return to the practice so that their progress can be monitored. This is particularly important when Invisalign® patients may require additional reshaping and revision at the end of the treatment process. Additional visits can be scheduled as needed based on the progress of the overall treatment process.

At the end of Invisalign® treatment, patients will have a straight, beautiful smile that is healthy as well. The best part is that patients will have gone through this months-long treatment process without any visible brackets and wires. In a sense, patients undergo orthodontic treatment without anyone realizing that it was performed.

Learn More About Invisalign®

For more information about Invisalign® and how it can be of great benefit you and your orthodontic health, we encourage you to contact our dental care center today. When you visit Dentistry at 1818, we will be more than happy to go over all of your options for advanced dental care.

Zoom!® Teeth Whitening: In-Office Professional Bleaching

Dentistry at 1818 serves patients throughout the greater Philadelphia area who would like to have a smile that’s healthy and beautiful. Dr. Maurry Leas and Dr. Jonathan Siegel offer the latest in dental care treatments. For example, Dentistry at 1818 offers Zoom!® teeth whitening, a state-of-the-art bleaching system that can take out very noticeable dental stains. Let’s look into this dental bleaching system in more detail right now.

About Zoom!® Teeth Whitening

Zoom!® teeth whitening is one of the most popular and well-regarded professional teeth whitening treatments on the market today. This in-office bleaching treatment allows for quick and safe bleaching of a patient’s smile.

How does Zoom!® teeth whitening compare to over-the-counter products?

There really is no comparison when it comes to Zoom!® teeth whitening and over-the-counter products. One Zoom!® teeth whitening session is able to brighten a smile up to eight shades. To get those kinds of results from am over-the-counter product, it could take weeks of use.

Ideal Candidates for Zoom!® Teeth Whitening

The best candidates for Zoom!® teeth whitening are people who suffer from extrinsic dental stains, which means tooth discoloration that originates at the enamel (surface) layer of the tooth. These candidates should be in otherwise good health and not suffer from any kinds of dental problems such as tooth decay. Ideally those matters should be addressed before bleaching a person’s tooth structure.

If a patient suffers from deep-set stains or intrinsic dental stains (discoloration that is internal in origin), the ideal treatment option will generally be porcelain veneers or a dental restoration. These alternatives can be discussed in more detail during the consultation process.

The Zoom!® Teeth Whitening Procedure

The Zoom!® teeth whitening procedure takes roughly one hour to perform. The first step of treatment is the cleaning of the teeth. Once the teeth are cleaned, a special bleaching gel is applied to teeth. This gel is then exposed to a special laser light, which activates the deep-acting properties of the Zoom!® teeth whitening gel. The process of gel application and light exposure is repeated two more times for optimal effect.

Are there any side effects to Zoom!® teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is non-invasive, though there are side effects involved. The most common side effect is tooth sensitivity, which can make eating and drinking your favorite foods difficult. Generally the tooth sensitivity only lasts two to three days.

We will work carefully to reduce tooth sensitivity while you are in the practice, using desensitizers and carefully monitoring exposure to the Zoom!® gel. When you return home after treatment, be sure to eat and drink only room temperature substances and to gargle/rinse with lukewarm water. This will help minimize any issues with sensitivity and discomfort.

Can I undergo additional Zoom!® treatments?

Of course!

Some stains are especially hard to get rid of, which is why multiple Zoom!® teeth whitening treatments can be scheduled. Because it’s performed in our office and professionally supervised, each treatment is safe and optimally effective.

Learn More About Zoom!® Teeth Whitening

Would you like to learn more about your options for teeth whitening? If so, it’s important that you visit Dentistry at 1818. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Maurry Leas and Dr. Jonathan Siegel, contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. We look forward to your visit and helping you achieve excellent dental health.

Is It Time to Replace Your Porcelain Veneers?

170984162-xsPorcelain is one of the most resilient dental materials, but even porcelain restorations cannot be expected to last forever. Eventually, damage, wear, or aesthetic changes will likely necessitate the replacement of such restorations. When it comes to time to replace porcelain veneers, it’s helpful to understand what that process entails. Moreover, we encourage our Philadelphia patients to learn the various factors that may reduce the lifespan of their veneers. Use the information below as a guide for protecting your veneers and, when their lifespan is finally up, knowing what to expect from a replacement procedure.

Why Might Porcelain Veneers Require Replacement?

When porcelain veneers are kept safe and clean, they will barely accrue any damage or stains over time. In many cases, veneers can last 15 years or longer before any significant changes are noticed. Still, a handful of factors are commonly noted as playing a role in the sudden or gradual decline of a veneer:

  • Tooth decay: If a tooth develops a cavity or similar complications, any restorations will have to be removed or destroyed in the treatment process. Once the restorative treatment is complete, a new veneer will need to be created and placed.
  • Chips or cracks: Porcelain can be brittle under unnatural or excessive force, resulting in noticeable chips and cracks. This may occur from sudden impact during an injury or accident, or it may be from a more natural source such as teeth grinding or biting into a hard object.
  • Staining: Porcelain is far more stain resistant than other dental materials and even natural enamel, but it’s possible for discoloration to occur over time, especially from lack of hygiene or tobacco use.
  • Gradual wear: Even if your veneers do not suffer immediate or extensive damage, small chips and regular usage will add up over time, gradually wearing them down in shape and size.

In some cases, patients may also want to consider replacement if veneers no longer match the rest of a smile. This may be due to discoloration of neighboring teeth or in conjunction with teeth whitening, which does not affect porcelain restorations.

The Replacement Process

The replacement process for porcelain veneers is similar to the original installation procedure. When you are ready for replacement to begin, you will undergo the following steps:

  • First, the original veneer must be removed.
  • Impressions will then be taken of the tooth, which are subsequently sent to a lab where the new veneer will be created.
  • When the new veneer is ready, you will be called back for a second appointment. You will be given a temporary veneer to cover the tooth and fill out your smile in the meantime.
  • During your second visit, the veneer will be placed over your tooth and evaluated for fit. Assuming it is a good fit, it will be permanently cemented onto the tooth, just like the previous one.

The entire process usually takes a week or two, with the majority of wait time dependent upon how long it takes the lab to create your veneer(s). Once the replacement veneer is cemented on, you can return to your regular habits without any changes to your lifestyle.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Veneers

Porcelain veneers do not typically require any special care outside of what you should provide for your regular teeth. However, there are certainly some considerations to keep in mind if you want your veneers to last as long as possible:

  • Maintain good, thorough hygiene on a daily basis
  • Drink water with meals to wash away food particles and neutralize acids
  • Abstain from tobacco use
  • Wear a mouth guard during contact sports
  • Do not use your teeth as tools for non-food items
  • Do not chew on non-food items, such as your nails
  • Consider wearing a night guard if you suffer from teeth grinding (bruxism)

For more information on how to making your veneers last, speak with your cosmetic dentist.

Schedule an Appointment

Dr. Leas and Dr. Siegel are committed to helping you achieve a full, beautiful smile. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding a recent or upcoming appointment. To schedule a new appointment with us, simply call or email our office at your convenience.

Improve the Appearance of Your Smile with Cosmetic Dental Bonding

174730007-xsEveryone deserves to have a smile they’re proud to share with the world. If the appearance of your teeth has you hiding your smile, you may want to consider cosmetic dental bonding treatment. Philadelphia cosmetic dentists Drs. Maurry Leas and Jonathan Siegel offer dental bonding treatment to correct a variety of cosmetic dental problems quickly and painlessly.

What Is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry treatment designed to conceal dental flaws and improve overall aesthetics. Dental bonding uses a putty-like, tooth-colored resin, which is applied to the teeth and shaped to the perfect size and proportions. The bonding resin can be made any shade of white to either match the surrounding teeth or to create a brighter smile. Dental bonding treatment is usually completed in a single dental visit, generally taking 30 to 60 minutes per tooth. During the dental bonding process, the surface of the teeth are prepared, and then the bonding resin is applied to the teeth and shaped. Next a special light or laser is applied to harden the resin in a process called curing. Once the resin is cured, the bonded resin is trimmed to further perfect the tooth’s shape and polished to create a lustrous shine.

Conditions Treatable with Dental Bonding

Dental bonding can correct a wide variety of dental flaws and imperfections. Whether you are embarrassed by the color, shape, or size of your teeth, dental bonding can give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Some of the uses of dental bonding include treating such conditions as:

  • Deep stains:Yellowed, discolored, or deeply stained teeth can be whitened with dental bonding.
  • Minor decay: Small cavities, especially on the front facing teeth, can be treated with dental bonding for a seamless look.
  • Minor fractures or chips:Dental chips or cracks can be an embarrassment and even lead to further damage from tooth decay. Dental bonding can repair small chips and fractures and protect the teeth from further damage.
  • Gaps between teeth:Large gaps between teeth can be easily closed with cosmetic dental bonding.
  • Irregularly shaped teeth:The appearance of misshaped teeth, whether pointy or jagged, can be improved with dental bonding treatment.
  • Undersized or oversized teeth: Dental bonding can be used to correct the size of teeth and create a proportionate looking smile.

Alternative Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments

Though dental bonding can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, it is not suitable for all patients. Fortunately, there are alternative dental treatments to restore the beauty of your smile. Some popular alternative treatments include porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns. Porcelain veneers are thin tooth-shaped restorations, which can be used to repair minor dental damage as well as transform the shape, size, and color of the teeth. Porcelain crowns are also tooth-shaped restorations, however, they are designed to completely encapsulate severely damaged teeth to restore both look and function of injured teeth.

Schedule a Consultation

Let us make your dream of a beautiful smile a reality. For your personalized treatment plan, we invite you to schedule a consultation today!

Laser Gum Contouring: Sculpting a Beautiful Smile

110905322-xsWhen it comes to a smile, your gums as well as your teeth play an important role. An uneven gum line or gums that cover too much of your teeth detract from what otherwise would be a beautiful smile. Even perfect teeth can’t compete with gums that take up too much real estate in your mouth.

If a gummy smile is making you self-conscious, the dentists at Dentistry at 1818 in Philadelphia are skilled in laser gum contouring techniques that can reduce and reshape your gums. Gum contouring is one of many cosmetic dentistry procedures available at Dentistry 1818 to improve your smile. Other procedures include teeth whitening, which removes stains from the surface of the teeth, and porcelain veneers, which mask imperfections such as stains, chips, or misshapen teeth.

Laser Gum Contouring

Laser contouring creates a symmetrical gum line that makes your teeth the main attraction. The precision of lasers makes them ideal for reshaping gums and solving problems, such as:

  • Excessive Gum Tissue. Contouring removes excess gum tissue that detracts from your smile.
  • Uneven Gum Line. A laser precisely sculpts the gum line, making it more uniform and pleasing.
  • Small Teeth. Excess gum tissue can cover too much of a tooth, making it look too small. The laser removes excess tissue and reveals the hidden portion of the tooth.

In the past, scalpels were used to trim the gums, a process that was painful, less exact, and required a long recovery time. Lasers, in addition to being more exact, quickly seal the tissue as they cut. This reduces the risk of infections and allows for quicker healing.

The first step in gum contouring is numbing the gums with a local anesthetic. The laser will then be used to remove excess tissue and reshape the gum line. In general, most gum reshaping procedures are completed in about an hour.

Most patients find the reshaping to be painless. Any discomfort during recovery is generally mild and can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications recommended by the dentist.

Recovery varies from person to person but many people recover in a few days, though others may take up to two weeks. Recovery for most people does not interfere with their day-to-day activities. However, until your gums heal, you should avoid hard, crunchy foods or food that may get stuck between your teeth and gums, such as seeds or popcorn.

Gum Reshaping Benefits

If your gums are interfering with your smile, you should consider the benefits of laser gum contouring:

  • Precise shaping using a laser.
  • More symmetrical gum line.
  • Improved proportions of tooth and gums.
  • Very little discomfort.
  • Reduced swelling and bleeding.
  • Shorter recovery period.
  • Permanent solution.

Gum contouring is generally a cosmetic procedure, but some patients may undergo gum contouring as part of their treatment for gum disease.

Next Steps

If you are unhappy with a smile that shows too much of your gums, or you have a gum line that is jagged, then laser gum contouring may be an ideal solution for you. A personal consultation, during which we can assess your teeth, is the first step in finding out what is possible.

Please call today for an appointment.

141447985-xsPossessing a smile that is straight, white, and beautiful is a powerful asset. An attractive smile gives off a positive first impression and can give patients an added boost of confidence in social and professional situations. Unfortunately, that ideal smile is hard to come by naturally. Even patients with healthy teeth and gums often suffer from cosmetic flaws on the teeth. At Dentistry at 1818, our cosmetic dentists can work with patients to perfect the appearance of the smile. We can provide our Philadelphia patients with a complete smile makeover by combining popular cosmetic dentistry procedures that are best suited for each patient’s unique areas of concern.

Teeth Whitening

One of the safest and most affordable cosmetic dentistry treatments, teeth whitening can have a great impact on the overall appearance of the smile. By brightening and whitening the teeth, patients can create a smile that looks more healthy and youthful. We offer our patients Zoom!™ tooth whitening, a treatment that takes just about an hour and has the ability to whiten the teeth by up to nine shades, while eliminating surface stains. For the convenience of our patients, we also offer at-home whitening kits that include custom-fit whitening trays.

Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding is another fast, affordable, and non-invasive cosmetic procedure that can greatly improve the appearance of the teeth. Tooth bonding involves the application of a bonding material directly to the surface of the teeth. Custom colored to match the shade of the patients teeth, tooth bonding can conceal dental stains, hide minor chips or cracks, and fill in gaps between the teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers create the appearance of a smile free of flaws by covering up a full range of cosmetic blemishes and imperfections. These thin, porcelain restorations are bonded to the surface of the teeth in order to improve the appearance of the smile. Any number of teeth can be treated, from a single tooth to an entire arch, in order to conceal imperfections such as misalignment, discoloration, gaps, cracks and chips, and poorly sized or shaped teeth. While porcelain veneers are one of the more costly cosmetic procedures, the effects they offer are priceless.

Invisalign®

Crooked and misaligned teeth can greatly impact the overall appearance of the smile. By offering Invisalign® orthodontic treatment, we can improve the health, function, and aesthetics of the smile for our patients. Invisalign® uses a series of clear and comfortable plastic aligners to gradually shift the teeth. These aligners are non-invasive and can even be removed for oral care and eating. Within the same timeframe as traditional orthodontic treatment, we can straighten teeth and improve alignment for our patients without inconveniencing patients or negatively affecting the appearance of the smile.

Dental Implants

There are few more obvious cosmetic flaws than missing teeth. Dental implants offer our patients the most advanced and secure anchor for a full range of dental restorations, including dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. By replacing missing teeth, our patients not only benefit from a more beautiful smile, but also one that is healthy and functional, all while preserving the health and structure of the jaw bone.

Contact Us

At Dentistry at 1818 we combine experience and modern dental techniques to help patients obtain their dental goals. Whether you are interested in maintaining your oral health or are seeking restorative or cosmetic dental treatments to improve the appearance of your smile, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn how we can help you achieve those goals. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Replace Metal Fillings with Composite Fillings?

58717198-xsThere is a long tradition of using metal in fillings.  But the metals in amalgam fillings – mercury, silver, tin, and other metals – now make people question past practices, particularly as it relates to the use of mercury.

Mercury is a toxic substance, which makes using it in a filling controversial. No studies prove that mercury fillings are harmful, but people reason that if you can substitute another material, why not err on the side of caution?

In addition, composite fillings have numerous benefits over amalgam restorations, not the least of which is aesthetics.

Dentistry at 1818, which has cosmetic dentistry offices in Philadelphia, offers tooth-colored fillings that give patients natural looking restorations without mercury.

Benefits of Composite Fillings

There are a number of benefits in switching to composite fillings, including:

  • Natural Look. Hands down, tooth-colored fillings look better than metal. Not only is an amalgam filling obvious, but with time it will tarnish and cast a grey shadow over the entire tooth.
  • Adhesion. Composite resin doesn’t just fill the hole in a cavity; it bonds with the tooth on a micromechanical level and strengthens it. Amalgam just fills the hole.
  • Less Drilling. Since amalgam fillings don’t bond with the tooth, extra drilling of healthy tooth is needed to created ledges to lock the filling in place. Composites bond with the tooth, so less tooth needs to be removed to secure them.

Why Replace Amalgam Fillings?

Composite fillings have many benefits, but if you already have amalgam fillings you may be wondering if you should replace them.

The decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, based on the condition of your current fillings and your own concerns. The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend removing metal fillings until they’ve reached the end of their effectiveness because extra drilling may do more harm than good.

However, if your amalgam fillings are old, now would be a good time to consider having them replaced with composite ones. As fillings age, they become loose and allow decay to enter a tooth. The resulting damage may cause you to lose the tooth, which would then require dental implants to restore your bite.

Even if your amalgam fillings are still functional, there may be other reasons for removing them, including:

  • Health Concerns. There are no studies that prove the mercury in amalgam fillings is detrimental to your health. However, many people are not comfortable with their amalgam fillings and want them removed.
  • Allergic Reactions. Some people are allergic to the materials in an amalgam filling and need to have them replaced.
  • Cosmetic Reasons. Metal-colored fillings are unattractive. Composite fillings can be matched to your tooth color, ensuring a natural-looking smile.

What Should You Do?

For many people, removing amalgam fillings is a personal choice. If you want to understand the issues surrounding amalgam fillings and replacing them, please give us a call. We would be happy to assess the condition of your fillings and discuss what’s right for you.