When choosing dental care for your smile, the quality of materials used is just as important as the standard of treatment performed. In recent years, composite (resin) fillings have become a popular alternative to traditional silver fillings. For patients considering restorative treatment options, knowing the implications of either treatment is important to making an informed decision.
When weighing your treatment options, consider the following:
First introduced to dentistry over 150 years ago, amalgam (silver) fillings remain a popular choice for patients with teeth compromised by dental decay or chipping. Amalgam fillings are made of a mercury based alloy, often comprising of silver, copper, and tin. While not the most aesthetic filling option available, amalgam fillings are highly durable and are able to withstand tremendous pressure and daily function. Commonly covered by most dental insurance providers, this treatment option remains among the most cost-effective restorations available.
One of the most significant concerns associated with amalgam fillings is the mercury within the filling. While silver fillings can contain anywhere from 40-50% mercury, this percentage is not enough to compromise a patient’s overall health. Additionally, silver fillings have long been considered by the ADA as a safe, affordable, and durable option.
Since the 1960s, composite (resin) fillings have grown in popularity as a more aesthetic alternative to traditional silver fillings. Unlike their amalgam counterpart, composite fillings are made of a tooth-colored resin, blending in naturally with the rest of the tooth. As a result, composite fillings are highly valued for their ability to comprehensively enhance the entire smile beyond filling cavities.
Like any other procedure, there are some drawbacks associated with composite fillings. In order to be most effective, composites must be placed when the tooth is completely dry – in instances where the cavity cannot be kept dry long enough to place the composite, patients may need to consider amalgam fillings. As resin fillings are primarily plastic-based, they may not be durable enough for use beyond teeth in the smile zone. As a result, patients who need molars filled may need to opt for amalgam. In regards to cost, prices for composite fillings can vary, depending on the insurance provider.
Visit our Fountain Dentists to Learn More
At Mesa Ridge Dental, we believe that the more information patients have prior to selecting treatment, the more confident they can be receiving care. Our dentists encourage patients to ask questions about their treatments and materials, providing in-depth explanations of a variety of options. Together, we help you choose the right restoration material for your smile. To learn more about whether amalgam or composite fillings are right for your smile, schedule an appointment with our dentists today.