Restoration Fillings: Amalgam vs. Composite

Fillings, Silver-Colored

Dental amalgam is made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Sometimes described as “silver-colored” fillings, dental amalgam has been used by dentists for more than 100 years because it lasts a long time and is less expensive than other cavity-filling materials such as tooth-colored composites or gold fillings.

Because of their durability, these silver-colored fillings are often the best choice for large cavities or those that occur in the back teeth where a lot of force is needed to chew. Amalgam hardens quickly so it is useful in areas that are difficult to keep dry during placement, such as below the gum line. Because it takes less time to place than tooth-colored fillings, amalgam is also an effective material for children and special needs people who may have a difficult time staying still during treatment.

One disadvantage of amalgam is that these types of fillings are not natural looking, especially when the filling is near the front of the mouth, where it may show when you laugh or speak. Also, to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to place an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.

Fillings, Tooth-Colored

Wenatchee Valley Dental Village will only provide Composite Fillings

Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.

Composites cost more than amalgam and occasionally are not covered by some insurance plans. Also, no dental filling lasts forever. Some studies show that composite fillings can be less durable and need to be replaced more often than amalgam filling. It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings probably due to cosmetics. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.

Fillings

Filling Materials

The filling materials used to replace missing tooth structure has evolved over the past several years. The filling materials utilized at the Wenatchee Valley Dental Village are among the latest generation of tooth colored fillings available. They generally consist of highly specialized Dimethacrylate resins or more commonly know as composite resins. These materials are built upon 15 years of clinical success. They provide extraordinary wear equal to amalgam or silver fillings.

American Dental Association