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A man in a dental chair receiving a filling from a dentist, with the dentist holding a dental instrument and a tray of dental filling materials nearby

Teeth can lose their natural structure and function for several reasons, including decay, trauma, and wear. Fillings are a dental restoration used to fill spaces where the tooth has been lost or damaged. Fillings are necessary when the tooth decay reaches the dentin layer of the tooth. If left untreated, the decay will progress and can cause pain, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, and mercury. The process begins by removing the decayed portion of the tooth. The area is then cleaned and disinfected to prevent infection. A putty-like material called dental amalgam is then placed in the cavity and shaped to fit the tooth. Once in place, a special light is used to harden the amalgam filling.

The Benefits of Amalgam

  • Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years and are considered safe and effective.
  • They are less expensive than other types of dental fillings, and they last longer.
  • They are strong and durable, making them a good choice for people who grind and clench their teeth.
  • They can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth.

The Drawbacks of Amalgam

  • Amalgam fillings are not as aesthetically pleasing as other dental fillings because they are more noticeable.
  • As they expand and contract, they can also crack teeth and cause them to become brittle over time.
  • There is an ongoing debate about whether mercury in amalgam fillings poses a health risk, but the evidence is inconclusive.
  • They require a large amount of tooth enamel to be removed before placement, which can weaken the tooth.

What are Composite Resin Fillings?

Composite fillings are also known as tooth-colored fillings because they are made from plastic and glass and are similar in color to your natural teeth. Composite fillings are applied in a two-step process. First, the decayed portion of the tooth is removed. Next, the composite filling is placed in the cavity and sculpted into shape. Once the filling is in place, it is hardened with a special light.

The Benefits of Composite Resin

  • Composite fillings are much less noticeable than metal fillings, and they can be matched to the color of your teeth.
  • They adhere more securely to teeth than metal fillings, making them less likely to fall out.
  • They require less tooth structure to be removed.
  • They are also biocompatible with tissue in the mouth and are safe for people with metal allergies.

The Drawbacks of Composite Resin

  • Composite fillings can wear down over time and may need to be replaced sooner than metal fillings.
  • They are generally more expensive than metal fillings.

Amalgam vs. Composite Resin Fillings: Which One is Best?

Which type of filling is best for you will depend on several factors, such as the extent of the damage to the tooth, your dentist’s recommendations, and your personal preferences.

Amalgam fillings are more common, and many people choose them because they are less expensive. However, resin fillings have grown in popularity because they look more natural.

Restore Your Smile at Steger Smiles

Everyone deserves to have a beautiful smile that they can be confident in. We are committed to helping our patients achieve their ideal smiles at Steger Smiles.

If you want to learn more about tooth-colored fillings or schedule a dental exam, please call us at (708) 754-8090.

Be proud of your smile.