Health Benefits of Composite Fillings
When a dentist uses amalgam filling to fill a cavity, he needs to make sure that the hole in the tooth is large enough to receive the amalgam filling, and often this results in his having to remove healthy parts of the tooth to make room. Also, an amalgam filling does not bond with the surrounding tooth, so the dentist needs to create grooves or undercuts within the healthy tooth to help the filling stay in place. Composite fillings have been found to bond with the tooth, essentially “sticking,” creating a stronger seal with the tooth, without the dentist having to remove any of the surrounding tooth. While amalgam filling looks like silver, it’s actually a mixture of silver, zinc, tin, copper, and mercury. Mercury makes up almost 50% of amalgam, and though research shows that mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings isn’t a cause for concern, some individuals may wish to avoid it anyway.
Efficiency of Composite Fillings
There are a few areas where amalgam fillings may seem more appealing, regarding the time the fillings last and the time spent in the dentist chair receiving the filling. Composite fillings will usually last at least about 5 years, while amalgam fillings last 7 years. Although a composite filling may have a shorter life span, it is important to remember that the composite filling actually binds to the tooth, enabling it to reinforce the healthy tooth. Another respect which must be considered is that the dental technique used to place an amalgam filling in a tooth is a simpler method than the technique used to place a composite filling. The result is shorter time spent in the dentist chair for an amalgam filling, and possibly longer time in the chair for a composite filling. “Although some procedures may be more complex than others, experience leads to competence, and as the use of composite fillings have increased, the time it takes to place a composite filling is dramatically faster than when the technique was first introduced,” says Dr. William Miller, an Arlington, TX dentist. With this consideration, the gap between the time efficiency of an amalgam filling and a composite filling is decreased.
Cosmetic Appeal of Composite Fillings
As dental technology has advanced, techniques have been upgraded, and health issues have been addressed, for a great many people the choice between amalgam or composite fillings comes down to which looks the most natural and attractive. Because composite fillings are white, they easily blend into the surrounding tooth, and the filling becomes basically undetectable. An amalgam filling is silver in color and therefore is quite visible when contrasted with the surrounding teeth. It is possible for a person to choose to use composite fillings in front, where the teeth are more visible, and amalgam fillings in the hard-to-see back molars. Because composite fillings are white, they do tend to stain over time and cannot be bleached by teeth-whitening products. However, when compared to a silver filling, even a discolored composite filling blends better with the natural color of teeth.
The Deciding Factor When Requiring a Dental Procedure Both composite and amalgam fillings are found to have advantages and disadvantages, so it mostly comes down to the preferences and priorities of the person sitting in the dentist chair. While one individual may desire the assurance of their filling lasting 7 years, it may be best for them to choose amalgam. If a person wants to keep their healthy tooth intact and wants a natural-looking filling, than a composite filling is best. It is important to keep in mind that dentists are continually researching and perfecting their skills, so even though composite fillings are relatively new compared to amalgam fillings, they have been used extensively and for many reasons found to be an excellent material for filling a pesky cavity. As an experienced dentist in Arlington, Texas, William Miller advises, “The most important consideration when deciding on a dental procedure is to be sure of your dentist’s experience and commitment to excellence.” By choosing a qualified and reputable dentist to meet dental needs, there is assurance that regardless of what procedure is chosen, it will be completed carefully and skillfully.