Fillings (Amalgam & Composite)
“You have a cavity!” is a sentence that no one enjoys hearing during a dental exam. However, due to the advancements made in dentistry, there are several options that you can consider for tooth extraction and restoration, including dental implants, a dental bridge, and composite resin and amalgam fillings.
In the past, traditional amalgam fillings used to be the only choice available for fillings. However, today, most dentists also offer resin composite fillings. Both fillings materials have different benefits, but knowing what those are can help you make an informed decision regarding the type of dental filling you want.
What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Amalgam fillings have withstood the test of time and have shown that they can last for eight to ten years and sometimes even longer if you maintain good oral health. They are by far the best option to fill cavities located in the back of the mouth because that part of our mouth constantly stays wet.
Amalgam fillings are also a cost-effective option. They are easy to maintain as well. However, the only downside of amalgam fillings is their color. The silver color of the amalgam is visible when someone opens their mouth to eat or talk.
Regardless, most people opt for amalgam fillings as they cost less and do not require much care, maintenance, or frequent dental cleanings in the long run.
What Are Composite Fillings?
Composite fillings, also known as resin composite fillings, are made of ceramic and plastic compounds. Initially, dentists could not use these fillings in the back of the mouth as the compounds were not strong enough to handle chewing and grinding. Instead, dentists used them in the front teeth because they were of the same color as a person’s natural teeth. Today, due to advancements in dentistry, dentists use composite fillings in the front and the back of the mouth. However, the downside of composite fillings is that many dental plans do not cover them unless they are used in the front teeth to restore a person’s smile. Some dentists do not prefer using composite fillings because even with the advancement, they do not last for a long time and can wear out easily due to grinding and chewing.
Pros of Amalgam and Composite Fillings
Let’s look at the advantages of using each type of filling:
Amalgam fillings are very durable. They can last for over a decade with proper care. They can fill fairly large cavities because of how strong they are. They do not cost as much, which is a big benefit for most patients on a budget. In addition, the quick solidification capability of amalgam fillings makes the treatment process less stressful for patients with special needs or children.
On the other hand, composite fillings look practically invisible since they are color-matched to blend in with your natural teeth. Most people who opt for composite fillings do it because of this advantage. Colin Lentz, DDS uses composite fillings to fill small and medium-sized cavities in the front as well as the back teeth. The compounds bond quite well to the enamel, so your fillings are unlikely to pop loose. Composite fillings are versatile and can fix tiny flaws such as a small chip in a tooth without requiring a dental crown. The best part about composite fillings is that the material is not affected by temperature, so it does not contract or expand.
At Lanier Valley Dentistry, we believe in providing the type of filling we feel is best suited to your case. We will conduct a dental exam to determine the extent of tooth decay before we recommend the type of filling for you. Call us at (678) 802-8654 today to schedule an appointment with us.