If you are from the older generation, when you had a cavity you may remember your dental visit as taking a long time and a lot of drilling by your dentist. Afterward, when you looked in the mirror at your tooth, it had a silver material inside. These silver fillings are still used today and are called amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals including silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. This type of filling has been around for approximately 150 years and placed in millions of teeth.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states amalgam fillings are safe, recently there has been growing concern about the toxicity of the mercury used in these types of fillings. Due to this growing concern, a new type of filling material using plastics and glass was created. This new filling is a composite resin, and the technique used for the fillings is called SonicFILL.
What is SonicFILL?
Your dentist places a filling in your tooth when it has been damaged by a cavity. Using a special drill, your dentist cuts through your tooth’s enamel and removes the inside of the tooth that has been damaged by the decay. He then places a filling in the area where the decay was removed and seals the tooth to protect it from further damage.
SonicFILL is a technique created to seal cavities with minimal drilling, and filling the tooth with a non-metal composite resin material. The composite resin is made up of a mixture of plastics and fine particles of glass. There is no mercury in this filling. Unlike the metal materials in amalgam fillings that look silver in your tooth, the composite resin fillings look and feel like your natural teeth. With the same care you give to your natural teeth, composite resin fillings can withstand years of normal daily wear and tear on your teeth.
What Is Involved in the SonicFill Technique?
There are two methods your dentist can use for the SonicFILL technique, either the direct fill or the indirect. In the direct method, in one visit your dentist prepares your tooth and places the resin composite filling directly into your tooth. Your dentist may use a special blue light beam on the filling after placing it in your tooth. This method helps the cement harden and cure quickly.
With the indirect method, your dentist will prepare your tooth for the filling and then take an impression of the tooth with a soft material to create a mold. The mold of your tooth is then sent to a laboratory to have the filling made to custom fit your tooth. Your dentist may also make your filling in his office. Having your custom filling created may take up to a couple of weeks. When the filling is ready, it’s time for your next visit. In this visit, your dentist will place the filling in your already prepared tooth using an adhesive cement. As with the direct filling, your dentist may use the special light beam to help the cement harden and cure before you leave his office.
In both the direct and indirect method, when using the composite resin filling there is less drilling needed to prepare the tooth than there is with an amalgam filling. With an amalgam filling, when your dentist drills through your enamel he needs to create a ledge around the hole. This ledge helps to hold the amalgam filling in place. Composite resin fillings don’t need this special ledge created in the tooth.
Replacing Amalgam Fillings with Composite Resin and the SonicFILL Technique
Due to concerns about mercury content, some people are considering having their old amalgam fillings replaced with composite resin fillings. The FDA states unless an amalgam filling is broken or chipped, is causing an allergic reaction, or there is further tooth decay underneath the old material, getting the filling replaced isn’t necessary.
There are several other types of materials used for fillings including cast gold, ceramic, and glass ionomer. As with the amalgam fillings, these also don’t need to be replaced with a composite resin filling unless they are damaged, you have an allergic reaction to the material or another cavity forms underneath the filling.
If you are considering having your fillings replaced it’s best to discuss the issue with your dentist. A dentist who is knowledgeable about composite resin fillings can help you determine if replacing your old filling is best for you and your oral health.
Where Do I Find a Dentist that Does SonicFILL??
SonicFill is becoming a more common practice for fillings. This type of technique is performed by dental offices professionally trained in the procedure, such as Kirkland Family Dentistry. The trained staff at these dental offices can offer assistance in answering any questions you may have about SonicFILL as a new way to get your fillings done for you and your family.