6729 Lake Rd,
Windsor, WI 53598

The Truth on Amalgam vs Composite Resin Fillings

Needing to fill a dental cavity or repair a damaged tooth can be an anxious experience. When faced with this situation, you tend to have two options - amalgam or composite fillings. Both filling types have their own pros or cons, with some factors weighing more heavily than others. Read on to learn more about these fillings and which is the better option.

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amalgam vs composite fillings

What are Composite (Resin) Fillings?

Composite fillings, also known as resin fillings or tooth-colored (white) fillings, are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles designed to repair teeth. They provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution to repairing cavities and damaged or decayed teeth. The material is applied to the tooth in layers, where it is shaped and polished to a smooth finish. The fillings are then cured with a special light.

Composite Benefits

  • Appearance: the fillings can be color matched to a person’s natural teeth.
  • Installation: less tooth structure is required to be removed.
  • Durability: strong construction with the ability to last for several years if small to medium-sized fillings.
  • Versatility: use cases beyond just cavities like repairing chipped or broken teeth and closing gaps between teeth.
  • Dental bonding: the fillings can be bonded directly to the tooth structure for added strength and stabilization.
  • Composition: composite fillings are free of BPA, a chemical linked to potential health risks.

Composite Disadvantages

  • Placement time: the fillings require the tooth to be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled.
  • Cost: since composite is considered a higher-end solution, the fillings tend to cost more than amalgam fillings and are usually not fully covered by dental insurance.
  • Staining: the fillings over time can become discolored or stained, which may require replacement.
  • Maintenance: composite may require more maintenance like regular cleanings and touch-ups than other fillings.
  • Fragile to high stress: the fillings could break more easily than other dental filling types in areas of high stress, such as the back teeth.
  • Lifespan: composite on average does not last as long as amalgam fillings with an expected lifespan between 5 - 10 years.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. These kinds of fillings have been a default choice for filling cavities or repairing damaged teeth. Due to some of their disadvantages, many dentists have shifted away from using amalgam fillings in favor of composite fillings or other alternative materials.

Amalgam Benefits

  • Durability: they tend to last longer than composite fillings.
  • Cost: they generally are less expensive than composite fillings.
  • Placement time: the fillings can be placed in a quick and straightforward process.
  • Wear-resistance: amalgam is resistant to wear, especially when used to fill cavities of higher chewing stress areas like back teeth.
  • Maintenance: they tend to require less maintenance than other fillings like composite.
  • Lifespan: amalgam tends to last longer than composite fillings with an expected lifespan between 10 - 12 years.

Amalgam Disadvantages

  • Appearance: they are easily noticed by their silver color.
  • Composition: the fillings contain mercury, which could be unsettling to some concerned about long-term effects.
  • Installation: more sound tooth structure must be removed to properly seat the filling.
  • Sensitivity: the fillings can be sensitive to temperature changes, posing a risk for tooth fractures.
  • Dental bonding: amalgam does not bond directly to the tooth’s structure, leading to potential recurrent decay.
  • Corrosion: the fillings can corrode over time, introducing metallic ions into the mouth and the formulation of black spots on teeth.

Which is Better for Me: Composite or Amalgam Fillings?

Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more than amalgam or gold fillings, mostly due to cosmetics. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth. And composite fillings are just that. Plus without the worry of corrosion, mercury, or sensitivity, composite fillings may be the best dental filling option for you.

If, on the other hand, you’re most concerned about durability and want the filling option that lasts the longest while being more affordable, amalgam fillings are still a viable option.

Available Composite & Amalgam Fillings From Windsor Dental

For the best dental fillings, including amalgam and composite, in the Windsor, WI area, turn to Windsor Dental. Our friendly staff provides dental fillings to patients of all ages. Contact us to schedule an appointment for help going over which filling option could work best in your case.

For more information on amalgam and composite fillings, contact the dentists at Windsor Family Dental in Windsor, WI.

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