Amalgam vs. Composite Fillings
One of the most common dental procedures is a filling. During a filling, the tooth is cleaned out and filled to prolong the lifespan of the tooth. Choosing the right material for a filling is not only important for cosmetic concerns but also your overall health. The most commonly-used materials for fillings are amalgam and composite resin. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decide what type of filling suits works for your situation.
Amalgam is a material that is made up of copper, silver, zinc, tin, and mercury. This type of material is the most durable, lasting anywhere from 10-15 years. It is stronger than composite resin and tends to be more affordable. However, it is not usually cosmetically pleasing since it does not blend in with the color of the tooth. Amalgam fillings also expand and contract more, which weakens the tooth, and causing cracks and fractures. The major concern with using amalgam fillings is that the use of mercury may cause serious health issues. Some dentists have stopped using amalgam fillings to reduce possible mercury contamination in patients.
The composite filling is a more popular material than amalgam because it offers a variety of shades that match the color of the tooth. Composite fillings consist of white porcelain that is ground up and consists of durable resins. To put in a composite filling, the tooth decay is removed, cleaned, and the resin is piped into the tooth. A UV light is used to set the filling right away. Another advantage to using composite resin is that it bonds to the natural tooth and strengthens the teeth. The drawback to using composite is that it has a shorter lifespan than the amalgam filling, and it may require multiple trips to the dentist to add layers. It also may cost more money that amalgam.
While a lot of research on improving composite materials has been conducted, the patient should make the final choice in deciding which type of filling is right for them. It also depends on your insurance plan, since some plans do not cover the cost of composite fillings. However, your dentist may determine that composite may be the best option, so be sure to consult with them to determine the best course of action.
The team at Babylon Dental Care has been treating our patients like family for 36 years, so call us to schedule an appointment with us by calling (631) 983-6665 today.