The History of Dental Fillings

March 24, 2019 in Restorative Dentistry by mccarl_dental
Even Lisa McCarl's beautiful smiles has been treated with dental fillings.

Even Lisa McCarl’s beautiful smile has been treated with dental fillings.

Even the most diligent tooth brushers and flossers will likely experience some minor dental damage or tooth decay over the course of their lives. When it comes to correcting these small tooth flaws, dental fillings have been the go-to treatment for centuries. Actually, the first dental fillings on record were found within the smiles of prehistoric skeletal remains. Keep reading to learn more about the long and storied history of one of today’s most common and effective dental treatments.

Ancient Dental Fillings

In Trieste, Italy, the remains of a man, dated more than 6,000 years old, were found with a bee’s wax filling. There are other ancient examples of tooth fillings and dental work crafted from a variety of materials, but this is one of the earliest examples.

200 AD to 700 AD Gold & Amalgam Fillings

Ancient Etruscans reportedly used a number of materials and dental treatment methods, including metal fillings and even dental implants. A Chinese medical text, dated as early as 700 AD, described the use of a silver paste-like material to repair dental damage. This may be an example of an early amalgam tooth filling.

1700s Making Tooth-Colored Options

In the 1700s multiple attempts were made to create dental restorations that offered a better cosmetic quality. Enamel and porcelain fused to gold and other metals make their first appearances in dental work of this era.

1800s Origin of Controversy Over Amalgam Materials

All the way back in 1840, the American Society of Dental Surgeons was already expressing concerns with the levels of mercury in amalgam fillings. This is still a subject of debate in the dental field to this day.

Tooth-Colored Fillings Today

One of our best patients, Virginia, has had great experience with tooth-colored dentla fillings.

One of our best patients, Virginia, has had a great experience with tooth-colored dental fillings.

Throughout the 1900s and into modern times, the use of gold, amalgam, and ceramic filling materials has been the norm. In the 1980s, the first composite resin filling materials were introduced, allowing dentists to deliver a more conservative and cosmetically superior filling treatment material. Despite the ongoing debate over the dangers of mercury poisoning from amalgam, they are still a legal, lower cost option in many dental offices. Most modern dental offices now provide composite fillings exclusively.  The dentists at McCarl Dental Group chose to stop using amalgam for dental fillings in the 1990s.

Meet the McCarl Dental Group

If you’re interested in learning more about dental fillings or any other oral healthcare services, contact your dentist in Greenbelt at the McCarl Dental Group. We have two convenient dental offices in Greenbelt and Millersville, MD to make it easy for you and your family to visit us for all of your dentistry needs under one roof.