Amalgam Fillings vs. Composite Fillings Debate

Amalgam Fillings vs. Composite Fillings

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Amalgam Fillings vs. Composite Fillings Debate

When restoring teeth, dental care providers typically offer patients the option of amalgam filling or composite filling. For those unfamiliar with this type of dental terminology and how to compare amalgam fillings vs. composite fillings, amalgam fillings are silver, while composite fillings are white in appearance. These are the most common materials used today in restoring teeth that require a filling. Each one has its advantages and should be considered individually. This allows for a more informed decision being made by the patient.

Removing Restorations that are Performing Well

As a note, under some circumstances, a patient may ask to have amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite. The idea of removing a perfectly good filling is usually not recommended by most dental care providers. Removing restorations that are performing as intended can actually result in more harm than good. That said there are indeed cases where replacing amalgam with composite may actually serve the patient’s best interests. For example, if there is a cosmetic problem with a silver filling, then replacement may be deemed to be a good idea. Also, if a restoration must be replaced anyway, then replacing with composite is acceptable.

Removing Restorations that are Performing Well

In addition, anyone who experiences some level of toxicity or sensitivity to amalgam fillings may be best served by having them replaced with composite fillings. Here are the main differences between amalgam and composite fillings.

• Durability: Silver fillings tend to be stronger and last longer than composite fillings. That said composite technology continues to advance making this type of filling consistently better each year.
• Appearance: The major advantage of composite fillings is that they can be matched in color and shade to reflect the patient’s natural teeth.
• Versatility: Unlike amalgam, composites are more versatile and can be used in more varied situations.
• Safety: Composite fillings are considered safer for some patients who may have sensitivity to metal. However, there are also issues associated with some of the chemicals used in modern composite fillings. Each patient is different and should consult with their dental care provider to make the best possible choice in this regard.
• Time and cost considerations: Patients should understand that composite fillings require more precision and take longer to place as compared to amalgam fillings. Composite is somewhat more expensive than amalgam and this can also play a role in the decision-making process.
• Preparation: Composites are sometimes useful in helping to hold a weaker fractured tooth together. Composites may at times be the preferred material for fillings because they require less drilling and less removal of tooth structure.

Finally, these are just a few considerations to take into account when choosing whether to go with amalgam or composite fillings. At the end of the day, composite and silver fillings are not really that different except in appearance. Talk with your dental care provider to decide which material is best for your individual dental needs. Contact your Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Darvishzadeh at Walnut Creek Dental today to learn more about amalgam fillings vs. composite fillings and how they are used in various restoration procedures.

[1] Dental Composite Filling and Modern Dentistry
[2] Porcelain Inlays – The Advantages
[3] What to do About a Persistent Toothache

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