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Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fillings


Whenever you go for a dental checkup, your dentist will check your teeth for any cavities or other signs of decay including brown and/or black spots.

If you have a cavity, your dentist may keep an eye on it (if it’s small) or fix it straight away using a dental filling.

If a cavity is not cleaned and filled properly, it may:

  • Create a tooth abscess, which is very painful and can only be fixed with a root canal
  • Lead to tooth extraction
  • Result in significant tooth damage which only a dental crown can fix

At Jackie Korol Dental, we provide high-quality, biocompatible dental fillings at affordable costs to keep your teeth healthy for many years.

Dental Fillings

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are restorations used to replace tooth structure that has been lost due to decay or breakage. They are typically recommended if the amount of tooth structure lost is less than 50%.

If the damage is greater, a dental crown, partial crown or lab-made restoration is the most efficient treatment option.

How Dental Fillings Work

Dental fillings are placed into the tooth by the dentist in a single appointment, they help seal the tooth, closing off spaces and gaps where bacteria can enter, thereby helping to prevent any further decay.

What Are The Different Types of Dental Fillings?

There are two main types of dental fillings used today. These include:

1. Amalgam/Silver Fillings

Amalgam dental fillings are made up of a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, copper and tin. The metal mixture is soft and pliable when packed into the tooth and hardens within a few minutes.

There has been much controversy regarding the potentially harmful effect of mercury from dental fillings on human health and the environment. Worldwide, it’s estimated that dentists contribute half of all mercury pollution into publicly treated water-works. Its effect on human health is also highly disputed. According to the IAOMT, scientific studies have documented the potential risks these fillings pose to human health:

Allergies, especially to mercury  Alzheimer's disease
Antibiotic resistance  Autism spectrum disorders
Cardiovascular problems Chronic fatigue syndrome
Hearing loss  Kidney disease 
Multiple sclerosis Oral lichenoid reaction and oral lichen planus
Periodontal disease Psychological issues such as depression and anxiety
Suicide ideations  Symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning 
Thyroiditis Parkinson's disease
Micromercurialism Complaints of unclear causation
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) Autoimmune disorders/immunodeficiency
Reproductive dysfunction   

Source: International Academy of Oral Medicine and Technology 

For these reasons, at our Calgary dental clinic, we never place amalgam fillings. We employ the SMART technique recommended by the IAOMT to safely remove existing amalgam fillings and replace them with more biocompatible options.

Amalgam Removal Process

2. Composite or White-Resin Fillings

Composite fillings are made up of a mixture of glass and plastic particles. This type of dental filling has many advantages including:

  • The color can be selected to match the shade of your teeth
  • Provides a natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing restoration
  • Helps improve tooth strength through bonding and helps prevent against fracture

At Dr Korol Dental Clinic, composite is our material of choice for simple fillings. Newer brands of composite such as Admira Fusion and Venus-Diamond are now BPA (bisphenol-A) and bis-GMA FREE are thus a very biocompatible treatment option.

Benefits of Biocompatible Dentistry

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

There are many factors that determine the lifetime of a dental filling including:

  • Size of the treated area
  • Amount of force placed on the area during chewing (or clenching/grinding)
  • What type of material is used
  • The care and maintenance provided by the patient

Although dental fillings are durable and can last for many years, they will not last forever. As they wear down over time, they become less effective at preventing the tooth from secondary decay.

That’s why visiting your dentist regularly is recommended to monitor the health of your teeth and catch early signs of decay, while it’s easier to treat.

Amalgam vs Composite Dental Fillings

Previous it was thought that amalgam fillings have a greater longevity in the mouth than composite dental fillings. However, recent advances in bond strength and dental materials have greatly improved the lifespan of composite restorations.

In fact, recent studies have shown the lifespan of both types of dental fillings to be essentially the same. With proper care, it can be reasonably expected that an amalgam or composite filling will last approximately 7-15 years.*

Call Today

To find out more about our biocompatible dentistry and products including dental crowns, partial crowns, ceramic inlays and onlays and dental fillings, contact our Calgary dental clinic at 403-245-099 or book an appointment.

*Source: Heintze 2012 (90% at 10 years), Kim 2013 (amalgam 11.8 years vs. composite 11.0 years), Opdam 2007 (92% survival at 5 years, 82% at 10 yr. for composite vs. 90% 5 yr. and 79% 10 yr. for amalgam.


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