The most common dental restoration is the placement dental fillings. Following the removal of decay from a patient’s teeth, the tooth can be left with cavities that need to be filled in order to restore the tooth’s function and strengthen the enamel so that the dentin below is not exposed. When a tooth has been exposed to decay causing bacteria, to protect the tooth, we need to remove the decay and then make the small repairs with a filling material. Our dentists at Woodland Family Dental, Dr. S. Welton and Dr. D. Welton, can restore the function and the overall health of your teeth with either amalgam or composite dental fillings.
Amalgam or Composite Fillings?The question of amalgam or composite has been an evolving question, the knowledge and materials have changed over the years, leaving many patients unaware of what to think. Using either material, we can make simple repairs to your teeth.
When the enamel of your tooth has been compromised, is thin in spots or is exposing the dentin beneath, we can strengthen the tooth, and relieve any pain associated, by filling the space with either amalgam or composite material. There are some distinct differences between the two products including:
||Amalgam Dental Fillings:Amalgam is the material that has been used for many years to repair teeth that have been damaged due to cavities. Most patients recognize this material due to its silver color. Dentists have been using this material for years because it is durable and long lasting. Amalgam is a blend of multiple metal materials, including mercury that has then been mixed with tin, silver, and copper. Being made of various metals, amalgam is noted for its strength and durability. In recent years there has been some concern about the use of mercury. Mercury, makes up about half of this blended filling material, and is used to bind the metals together. The levels of mercury used in this material is considered safe according to research conducted through the American Dental Association.
The benefits of amalgam is the durability and longevity of the restoration. The average lifespan of dental fillings filled with amalgam is 12 years, though many exceed 20 years. The downside of amalgam, that many patients do not like is its dark coloring and the fact that amalgam does not bond to the tooth, meaning we generally are required to remove much more of the natural tooth structure in order to create a space for the metal filling to rest in.
||Composite Dental Filling:Composite refers to a quartz and resin blended material that we are able to shade to match the color of your tooth. This allows the filling to hide in your mouth, making it near impossible for others to see. Besides filling holes after removing decay, we are also able to make simple repairs to teeth, including repairing chips and fractures, with this material.
In the past, composite was known to be not as durable as amalgam, but the material used today is much stronger, and we now feel comfortable using composite on any of your teeth, including those that have high chewing pressure. The downside to composite material is that it is a more expensive option, meaning many dental insurances are unwilling to cover the costs unless the tooth is easily visible.
For more information on dental filling materials, including amalgam and composite, contact our dentists, Sunnshine M. Welton DDS and David G. Welton DDS, at our Post Falls, ID 83854 office by contacting our front office at: (208) 254-4600