Scientists have uncovered evidence of tooth decay in specimens dating back more than 15,000 years. In ancient times, cavities were erroneously attributed to the existence of “tooth worms,” a concept that, while false, provided a way for humans to comprehend the holes formed by cavities.
The prevalence of cavities is often linked to the advent of agriculture, which introduced a diet rich in grains and carbohydrates, creating an environment conducive to cavity-causing bacteria. With the addition of more sugar to our diets, dental health further deteriorated.
The concept of the “tooth worm” persisted until the 1700s, when scientists gained a better understanding of dental caries. Subsequently, attention shifted towards addressing existing cavities and preventing new ones.
The Evolution of Dental Fillings
Various materials, including beeswax, cork, aluminum, tin, and even asbestos, were employed to fill cavities caused by dental decay. In the mid-1800s, dentists transitioned to using metal fillings such as gold, platinum, silver, and lead amalgams.
Modern amalgam is a mixture of liquid mercury, silver, tin, copper, zinc, and other metals. However, some individuals still prefer the appearance of gold fillings. Contemporary alternatives include composite-resin fillings, composed of a tooth-colored blend of plastic resin and finely ground glass-like or quartz particles, offering a durable and inconspicuous filling. Porcelain or ceramic fillings, while natural in color, exhibit greater resistance to staining.
Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz can assist in determining the most suitable filling material based on cost, dental requirements, and lifestyle preferences. While “tooth worms” may be a thing of the past, if cavities are a concern, contact our Boca Raton office to take the necessary steps in safeguarding your oral health.