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Dental Fillings

Last updated 5 years ago

•    Silver amalgam is probably the most widely known filling material. Amalgam is made up of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury, with mercury being nearly 50% of the mixture. The popularity of amalgam among dentists is due in part to its low cost as well as its strength and durability. And even though they are not aesthetically pleasing, these fillings can typically last 15 years or longer. These fillings are also fairly easy to place in the tooth and there is no concern about contamination from saliva or blood. The disadvantages of this material, is that it is prone to expansion and contraction and more likely to cause your tooth to crack. This fluctuation also creates open spaces between the filling and the tooth that allows food and bacteria to become trapped, enabling cavities to form. There is also the controversial mercury that is present in these fillings.

•    Composite fillings are very popular because of the tooth-colored appearance that can be matched to the shade of your existing teeth. Your dentist, using a bright blue light (known as the curing light), which hardens the soft material, places composite fillings. Composite fillings are becoming the most commonly used material in dental fillings. Composite fillings are made of a resin/plastic material which makes them more expensive than the silver amalgam fillings.
    •    Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain and are both durable as well as aesthetically pleasing. The material is more expensive than the other filling materials, but ceramics are tooth-colored and more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin. The disadvantages of using ceramic is that it is more brittle than its composite counter-part and it needs to be large enough to prevent it from breaking, so the tooth must be reduced in size to make room for the extra bulk. These ceramic restorations are typically referred to as inlays or onlays.

Silver amalgam and Composite fillings.

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