Frequently Asked Questions

Have an oral health question? Ask Dr. Katina Spadoni, DDS, Delta Dental of Illinois' dental director. Dr. Spadoni is full of helpful hints and the oral health wisdom you need for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

What is the difference between an amalgam and a composite filling?

Amalgams are silver fillings and have been used for many years in cavity procedures. Composites (tooth-colored fillings) have become a popular alternative to silver colored fillings (amalgams). Many dental patients want the cosmetic benefit of composites because they are tooth-colored and blend in with natural teeth. The benefit of white colored fillings are primarily cosmetic, so it is not necessary to replace current any silver-colored fillings you may have. Even though more patients and dentists are choosing to use tooth-colored filling materials, the American Dental Association still supports the use of dental amalgam (silver fillings) as a safe, affordable and durable material.

I need to have a molar replaced. What kind of dentist places dental implants?

Any dentist can place an implant as long as they have had additional training in implantology. A general dentist, a periodontist, prosthodontist and an oral surgeon can all perform implant procedures. Sometimes the treatment is split between the specialist and the general dentist. For example, a periodontist or an oral surgeon places the implant which is the surgical portion of the treatment and the general dentist or prosthodontist will restore the implant with an abutment (a connector, placed on, or built into, the top of the dental implant, to connect the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth) and crown over the implant body.

How long should a crown last?

Generally, dental crowns may last between five and 15 years. With the right care, dental crowns can potentially last a lifetime. Your dentist is the best source to tell you how long your crown may be expected to last.