It seems that every dental filling has some kind of drawback to it. Amalgam tooth fillings are now illegal in most Western countries, because the mercury that is used in them is highly toxic and leaches slowly out of the tooth filling itself, causing brain damage over time and is high in carcinogenic. Also carcinogenic, albeit to a much lesser extent are composite gradia, or white dental fillings, because they leach BPA, a semi-toxic substance, if left in for too long. So you have the option of frequently changing your tooth fillings (every 6 years or so, so not THAT frequently) or of living with BPA, which aside from being carcinogenic can also affect your hormonal levels, too. This tooth filling material is also more prone to failure than amalgam dental fillings, and will eventually come out, as it is slowly dissolved by your saliva. It seems that dentistry has come up with a viable third option for dental fillings.
What are glass ionomer dental fillings?
Glass ionomer fillings are tooth fillings that are made up of condensed, melted glass. This glass will not shatter or break, so it is completely safe to use as a dental filling. The ionized glass will not dissolve, will not shrink, and is thus longer lasting than both amalgam and white tooth fillings. Aside from this, glass ionomer dental fillings do not leach any sort of materials at all, and are bound to the teeth.
Although this kind of ionized glass is called inert glass, the material itself is surprisingly active, and reacts very pleasantly to the wheeling and dealing of your mouth. It mostly repels and even kills bacteria that try to come into contact with it, creating a bacteria free zone in and around the tooth in question.
Currently, these fillings can be easily made in a lab, but a viable commercial glass ionomer is yet to hit the streets and dentistries. This is being worked on right now, and it is almost certain that glass ionomer dental fillings are the wave of the future.