Sometimes, if many of your molars have been filled with silver amalgam dental fillings, when you talk or laugh all others can see is a bunch of silver in your teeth. To get rid of some of that silver, you can choose composite fillings the next time you need to replace an older filling or get a new one.
Composite fillings consist of tooth-colored, quartz-like materials. They are used to fill teeth that have cavities caused by tooth decay. When placing composite fillings, we first removes all the decayed material and cleans and sterilizes the tooth. Then the cavity is filled layer by layer with the composite filling. After each layer is placed, it is hardened with a curing light. Then the next layer is applied until the process is complete. The end result is an invisible restoration, in contrast to the silver mass of an amalgam filling.
Composite fillings have advantages and disadvantages when compared to silver amalgam fillings.
The advantages of composite fillings:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Non-toxic/eco-friendly materials (silver amalgam fillings contain a variety of metals, including traces or mercury)
- Bond to the tooth surface for strength
- Protect the tooth structure because healthy tooth material surrounding the cavity does not need to be removed
- Composite fillings cost more because the material is more expensive.
- The process of filling a tooth with a composite filling takes more time.
- Composite fillings only last about half the time of amalgam fillings.
For more information on composite fillings, talk with your dentist the next time you’re here for your regular cleaning.