Fill ’er Up

dental fillings Hillsboro, OR“Fill ’em up.”

Now that’s something you don’t hear anymore unless you like to talk to yourself. If you’re old enough to remember asking a service station attendant to fill up your car with gas, you’re probably old enough to have a few cavities.

You may know them as cavities. But officially, they’re called caries. If you don’t know what that word is, you’re not alone. But it is the most common oral disease known to man, dental caries. The process of getting cavities is called tooth decay.

The word cavity is a misnomer. That term probably came from the fact that once the dentist cleans out the decay, what is left is a cavity. That cavity gets a filling to keep it from trapping food and bacteria.

The question is what kind of filling? Dr. Miller provides various types of fillings, not just the silver amalgam of the past.

Types of fillings we use

Silver amalgam kind of sounds like a new game they’re playing down in Vegas. Silver amalgam has been the filling of choice for over 150 years! Silver amalgam is a mixture of metals. To make an amalgam filling, Dr. Miller mixes mercury (50% of the eventual filling) with a powder comprised of silver, copper, tin, or zinc (usually a combination of some or all of those). They’ve been used forever, and the FDA deems they’re safe, but some people don’t like the idea of a bunch of mercury in their mouth.

  • Composite fillings are becoming increasingly popular. That’s because you can’t see them. Contrast this with the silver you see when a person opens his or her mouth, and they have an amalgam filling. The problem with composite, which is made of a mixture of plastic and glass, has always been its strength. But technological advances are making composite resin stronger and stronger every year, so Dr. Miller now uses composite on all filling locations.
  • Ceramic or porcelain fillings are very durable and are also virtually invisible on your teeth. Their drawback is their cost. But they are beautiful and very durable.
  • Glass ionomer fillings are used for children’s baby teeth. Made from acrylic and glass, they also have some fluoride in the filling material that releases over time to protect teeth.
  • Gold fillings were popular in the past, but they are very visible and expensive, so their time has passed.

If you have some tooth pain, you may have a cavity. Call us at 503-640-9310 and let’s take a look.

Posted in: Dental Fillings

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