Have a cavity? Dental filling is a trusted treatment used by dentists to eradicate tooth decay and seal the area, preventing further damage to the tooth structure.

A dental filling procedure is relatively easy and cost-effective, and when done by an experienced San Francisco dentist, can be a safe way to keep your teeth – and whole body – healthy.

Dental Filling Material

Are you asking the question, “What are dental fillings made of?” Not all filling materials are created equal, and it’s important to know what’s going in your mouth before you’re in the dentist’s chair.

There are generally two options for cavities: mercury dental fillings and white dental filling material. Here’s what to know about both.

Mercury Dental Fillings

Mercury, also known as amalgam, is the oldest type of dental filling material in use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines amalgam as a mixture of different types of metals, including tin, silver, copper, and liquid mercury. Roughly half of the mixture is mercury by weight.

Although amalgam is strong and long-lasting, it has serious health risks according to the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Some of these risks include allergies, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, hearing loss, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and periodontal disease. Studies show that getting mercury dental fillings during pregnancy may lead to low birthweight, premature delivery, and neurodevelopmental delays.

Learn more about dental amalgam fillings by reading the articles below:

White Composite Fillings

A white dental filling, also called composite resin, is a non-toxic material that is used significantly more often than amalgam fillings. It is composed of a mixture of BPA-free hard plastics that are pliable when filling the tooth and are hardened via a UV light curing process.

The American Dental Association suggests that composite dental filling material is a good choice for patients who want a natural-looking filling or need a filling in one of the front teeth, as well as for small to medium fillings needed for the back teeth. It is considered one of the safest dental fillings available today.

Get more information about composite dental filling options in these articles:

Your Comfort Matters to Us

Our Union Square dentist in San Francisco ensures our office is a place where you can relax and put your health and wellness first, allowing yourself recovery and restoration. We provide a number of spa-like services to our patients in order to relieve discomfort and improve relaxation, such as:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Neck wraps and heated blankets
  • Healing with essential oils and crystals
  • Noise-cancelling headphones

The Green Dentistry Difference

At Green Dentistry, we strive to build life-long relationships with our patients to help them feel secure about their smiles today and for many years to come. We want our patients to feel confident in the work we do together to give them not only beautiful smiles but also functionality and oral health to last a lifetime. We are also proud to give back — to people who are in need and to the environment that surrounds us. We are excited to make you the newest member of our holistic dental care family.

Dental Fillings FAQ

Colgate estimates that dental filling appointments last about an hour or less. When you visit our office, the time you’ll spend with us varies somewhat depending on whether you are a new patient and what treatments you’re having done. Our staff can help you plan for your appointment time after booking with us.

At Green Dentistry, we want your dental filling procedure to be as comfortable and pain free as possible. You’ll enter our spa-like office and immediately begin to feel at ease in our relaxing environment as you get ready for your restorative dentistry appointment.

We’ll take painless images of your teeth to identify the location of the decay and then apply a numbing solution to your gums in the affected area. At this time, you’ll feel a slight needle prick as we numb deeper into the tooth root so you will not feel any pain during the remainder of the process.

The pain after dental filling is usually mild and resolves within a few hours or days after the procedure. You can typically take over-the-counter pain relievers; however, we may prescribe pain medication in some cases where a patient has had extensive dental work done.

How long your dental filling will last varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including the dental filling material you selected, your overall oral health, and the skill of the dentist performing the procedure.

Delta Dental estimates that on average, mercury dental fillings last between 10 to 15 years, while a composite dental filling lasts about 5 to 7 years. A temporary dental filling is designed to protect the tooth from food debris and bacteria and will be later removed and replaced with a traditional filling.

However, as noted above, the additional longevity of amalgam comes at a steep cost. It may benefit you to consider having your dental amalgam fillings removed. Learn more by reading our article, Is It More Dangerous to Have Mercury Fillings Removed?

The average cost of dental filling treatment is relatively affordable, even if you have multiple teeth that require a filling. This cost is highly variable though and depends largely on the dental filling material you select, how many fillings you need, how large your fillings are, and any other services you book at the same time, such as imaging and cleaning.

At Green Dentistry, we’ll go over the dental filling price for your specific treatment before getting started so you know what to budget for.

Book an Appointment with Your Union Square Dentist in San Francisco Today

Your dental health matters. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive exam at our San Francisco dental practice until it’s too late. Often, we can catch problems early and treat them before they get out of hand. Contact our Union Square office now by calling (415) 433-0119.

New Patient? We’ll Plant a Tree In Your Honor

We believe in “green dentistry with a green thumb.” Let’s work together to help improve the environment and fight climate change.

Every year, your tree will:

  • Produce 260 lbs of fresh oxygen
  • Remove 25+ lbs of carbon from the atmosphere
  • Provide shade and habitat for birds, squirrels, and other animals

Help us make a difference!

The best dental care in the San Francisco Bay Area!

We look forward to welcoming you and helping you on your journey to an amazing smile and life-long health!

Request an appointment today!

Call (415) 433-0119

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