Past and Present Dental Fillings

The dental filling is one of the more well-known restorations in modern dentistry, and has been a popular option for longer than many people realize. Designed to reinforce a tooth after it’s been treated for an infection, a dental filling serves a number of purposes, like protecting your tooth from further infection and improving its structural integrity. Though the idea of a dental filling is not new, today’s restorations are crafted from innovative materials that mimic your natural tooth structure, creating fillings that preserve your smile’s appearance and its health.

Restoring Teeth in the Past

Experts believe some of the earliest forms of advanced dentistry belonged to the Etruscans who dwelled in ancient Italy, and involve gold fillings as well as gold dental crowns and bridges. In present-day Pakistan, approximately 7,500-year-old molars were discovered that exhibited nearly perfect holes carved out of their centers. In Italy, researchers found the mandible of a man in his mid- to late-20s, who lived around 6,500 years ago, that contained a cracked canine. The vertical fracture was filled with what experts later confirmed is beeswax.

Introducing Metal Amalgam

In the mid-1800s, the French Crawcour brothers introduced metal amalgam to the United States, and the material quickly became an affordable alternative to the (literal) gold standard of the time. Made from a mixture of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of tin, copper, silver, and other trace metals, amalgam fillings allowed patients with infected teeth receive treatment that they couldn’t afford before.

Natural-Looking Dental Fillings

While metal fillings are strong, some are prone to failure by damaging teeth or allowing bacteria to reinfect them. Metal can contract in cold temperatures and expand in the heat, which can damage your inflexible tooth. Instead of amalgam, Dr. Wright typically uses white composite resin that doesn’t change shape and can be tinted to match the surrounding tooth structure. The resin is bonded to the tooth’s surface for a tight seal that helps improve the tooth’s integrity and keep bacteria from reaching its interior.

About Your Southlake Dentists:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.