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Dental Amalgam – Is it Right for Me?

January 19, 2017

What is right for me?

There are several factors that influence performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. You might ask there are many types of dental fillings – composites and dental amalgam – what is right for me? There are factors that the Dentist uses to choose the proper material. First, the patients oral and general health are considered. Secondly, the components used in the filling material are looked at. Thirdly, where and how you place the filling and the chewing force that the tooth must handle.  Therefor, each case is unique and your choice is best determined with your dentist. Today, we will discuss fillings. Another blog will cover crown options.

Amalgam ( Silver)

Used by Dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested dental material among all those in use today. It is durable, easy to use and highly resistant to wear. It is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

Dental Amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metallic elements. Although amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used filling material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in silver fillings combines with other metals to render it STABLE and SAFE for use in filling teeth.

The Following Governing Bodies have deemed that Dental Amalgam is safe, reliable and effective as a restorative material.

  • National Institutes of Health
  • The U. S. Public Health Service
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The Food and Drug Administration
  • The World Health Organization

Resin Composite Fillings ( White)

Dentists have more ways to create natural looking smiles. Decades of research have helped develop ceramics and polymer compounds that look like natural teeth. Composites are a mixture of glass or quartz with a resin that makes a tooth colored filling.  These are often called Composites or Resins. White fillings give good durability and resist fracture when done in a small or mid size filling. These need to stand up to chewing pressure. With a white filling, there is less tooth removed to prepare the tooth. This results in a smaller filling than it would be if done with amalgam. Tooth colored fillings can be “bonded” into the cavity prep. This allows the Dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.

Comparing Silver vs White Fillings

Silver fillings are easier to place in difficult areas. White fillings require that the tooth be kept completely dry. This is hard to do in the very back of the mouth. Due to the length of time it takes to do and location of the filling, sometimes the white fillings are uncomfortable for patients. Silver fillings do not require strict isolation of the tooth.

White fillings take about 60 percent longer to place. They are placed with expert care and precision. They need more expensive materials. Therefore, they are more cost more.

White fillings are hard and can be chewed on as soon as the numbness has worn off. Silver fillings are softer and you should not chew hard things on them for 24 hours.

Make sure you discuss with your Dentist the type of fillings that are the best for your situation. Each patient and each tooth is a different story. Call our office at 920-475-7414  if you need a second opinion as to the best option for you.