Filling a tooth is an important part of dental health but people are often conflicted when deciding between composite fillings vs amalgams. When it comes to fillings, silver amalgam is clearly the least expensive for those who have insurance as well as those who do not. Aside from gold, this is perhaps one of the most durable types of filling material available today. However, health-conscious individuals sometimes are concerned about the mercury contained in amalgam fillings. Any time a tooth has become damaged by tooth decay, some type of dental filling is required for complete repair and to help strengthen and protect teeth.
Amalgam which is a silver metal as well as composite which is a tooth colored material are both the most common types of filling material used today. Having been used for almost two centuries, amalgam fillings provide for the bulk of most cavity work. While sometimes referred to as silver fillings, they will tend to become darker over time. Note that amalgam is less expensive than other types of fillings. Most importantly, this type of filling material bonds quickly with the natural tooth ensuring a good repair. Conversely, resin composite is often used as a good filling material alternative.
When talking about composite fillings vs amalgams, composites vary substantially in terms of their composition. That said they almost always contain a type of synthetic resin which makes it almost plastic like in nature. Best of all, composites are created in such a way that they take on the same color as your natural teeth. This makes them almost invisible and hard to detect. However, over the years, resin composite fillings can ultimately stain and become more visible. Composite also has a tendency to shrink resulting in the potential for bacterial infection within the tooth. These are all concerns to consider when comparing the two different options.
In conclusion, amalgam fillings are less expensive but may turn dark in color over time. Conversely, composite fillings can tend to stain given enough time as well. Amalgam is very strong by nature whereas composite may not be able to withstand excessive biting pressure under certain circumstances. Expect amalgams to last up to 15 years while composite can easily last 10 years or longer. There is more involved with placing composites as compared to placing amalgam fillings. Talk with your dental care provider to determine which option is best for you with regard to composite fillings and amalgams. Contact your Stockton dentist, Dr. Sajjad Rizvi, at Happy Kids Dental help in this regard.
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