Dental professionals use a variety of materials to fill in the decayed portion of a tooth. Silver (amalgam) fillings and tooth-colored (composite) fillings are popular choices. Which material is best for you? Here are a few unique differences to take into account.
For over 100 years, silver-colored fillings (amalgam) have been the traditional material used by dentists. Comprised of tin, copper, mercury, and zinc, these fillings are cost-efficient and durable, usually lasting 10-15 years. It’s important to note that the mercury contained in these fillings is not the same as mercury found in fish. These fillings are still regarded as safe. In fact, amalgam fillings are particularly helpful when working with children or patients with special needs. Because the material hardens quickly, there is no need to sit still for a long period of time. Amalgam fillings are easy to place, and ideal for larger cavities and cavities near the back of the mouth.
Even so, there are a few disadvantages. First, amalgam fillings are not natural looking. Often, they can be seen when a person laughs or smiles. Another drawback is that they do not bond to the tooth. This means that the dentist will likely need to remove more of the tooth structure prior to filling it. Another concern is that some patients claim to experience sensitivity to the materials used in amalgam fillings.
Depending on the size, location, and structure of the cavity, your dentist may fill you in on another cost-effective option, such as a tooth-colored filling. These fillings are made of strong composite resin, which contain glass particles and a type of plastic. At first, this material is soft and flexible. This allows the dentist to fill cavities or imperfections without removing a large portion of the tooth. A special blue light is used to harden, bond and reinforce the material in place. Unlike amalgam, these composite fillings are aesthetically pleasing, and match the natural color of your teeth. No one will know that you have a filling!
Whether silver (amalgam) filling or a tooth-colored filling is used, Grateful Dental is committed to helping you maintain the integrity of your teeth for years to come. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.