When you are undergoing a dental procedure to restore your tooth, you will be faced with the decision of what type of filling ought to be used for your tooth. Many dental patients are unaware of the benefits and draw backs of the choices available to them. It is important to understand your choices so that you can make an informed choice.
There are two main types of filling available today. These are amalgam fillings and composite fillings. Your dentist will probably refer to them as ‘silver’ and ‘white’ filings respectively based on their physical color.
You’ll find that many dentists recommend composite filings. These types of fillings have been used in dental restoration procedures for over 40 years now. They are comprised of a plastic resin. The resin is soft initially. However, it hardens over time and cures to full strength when it is exposed for a short period to the light spectrum’s blue range. The resin is therefore glued into its position on a microscopic level.
The gluing process for composite fillings can be a difficult one as the area has to be kept perfectly dry. This can be difficult especially in cases where the patient suffers from bleeding gums. A small amount of liquid introduced to the area will result in the retardation of the process.
Composite fillings can be used for filling in small cavities and other small spaces that need to be filled. Many people prefer composite fillings because they come in a wide variety of colors. This means that they will match with the natural color of your teeth. These fillings also do not have a darkening effect on teeth over time.
Amalgam fillings are comprised of metal alloys. Some metals popularly used for amalgam fillings include copper, tin and silver. These types of fillings have been used for over 100 years in dental practice. They are not glued onto the tooth but are held in place by the shape of the cavity.
Amalgam fillings cannot be used for filling small cavities. Amalgam fillings also come in only a single color i.e. silver. Patients cannot therefore get fillings that match with the color of their teeth as is the case with composite fillings.
Amalgam fillings that contain silver have a tendency of darkening the tooth. The silver element percolates into the tooth causing it to darken.
Make up your mind
Amalgam fillings are harder than composite fillings. Amalgam fillings therefore wear down slower than composite fillings making them a better choice for longevity.
Talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of the different types of fillings so that you can make an informed decision.