Composite and Amalgam Fillings

Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth affected by decay. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.

Reasons For Fillings:

  • Restoring small to medium sized cavities.
  • Restoring a chipped anterior (front) tooth.

What An Amalgam Filling Involves

First, The Dentist will answer any questions you have and will apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the filling. Then will thoroughly remove the decay that is present and prepare the tooth to successfully bond with either the composite material or amalgam.

What are Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.

Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth and this may result in a smaller filling than with an amalgam.

In addition, composites are "bonded" or attached with adhesive to the tooth, often allowing a more conservative repair. Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process. They are also subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.

Composite filling material is also commonly used to repair front teeth that have chipped or worn. Where possible, aesthetic bonding of composite material to front teeth is generally much less expensive than veneers or crowns. However, bonding typically does not last as long as veneers or crowns.


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