Thanks to advances in modern dental materials and techniques, dentists have more ways to create pleasing, natural looking smiles. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valuable option for dentists and their patients.
Although dental amalgam continues to be safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.
Because amalgam fillings can withstand high chewing loads, they are particularly useful in restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is the greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as deep fillings below the gum line.
Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The other disadvantage is that the silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth colored.
Composite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth colored filling. They are sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure.
The cost is moderate and depends on the size of the filling and the technique used by the dentist to place it in the prepared tooth. It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than what is required for an amalgam filling. Composite fillings require a cavity that can be kept clean and dry during filling and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time.
Other disadvantages of composite fillings include higher costs, less resistance to fracture and greater risk of long term sensitivity when compared to amalgam fillings.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. These factors include: The patient's oral and general health, the components used in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth will bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
The doctors at Somerset Family Dentistry after consulting with our patients can best determine what filling is the best one for each tooth.
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Somerset Family Dentistry, LLC
11 Clyde Rd
Somerset, NJ 08873
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