If you are of a certain age, chances you have—or have had—metal amalgam fillings. These silver-grey fillings did the trick in resolving problems with a decaying tooth, but they are not very attractive.
Most dental clinics today, including our Katoomba, NSW dental clinic, primarily treat dental decay with tooth-coloured composite dental fillings. And when it comes to amalgam versus composite fillings, there are both benefits and drawbacks.
Why Dental Fillings Are Important
Nobody likes to hear from the dentist that ‘you have a cavity,’ but the reality is that most of us will hear that at least once in our lives. But dental fillings are an important way to preserve a tooth that has developed decay. Without dental fillings, the decay will continue to spread in the tooth, often leading to an infection in the tooth root that warrants a root canal. With a dental filling in place, your tooth is restored and your oral health is preserved.
Pros and Cons of Amalgam Fillings
Made from a variety of metals, amalgam fillings are durable and affordable. Because of the metal alloy used, they are strong and particularly well suited for large areas of decay.
Many people, however, prefer not to expose themselves to the mercury in the material used. Mercury has developed a bit of a tarnished reputation and some people can develop sensitivity to it. In addition, amalgam fillings can darken the appearance of the entire tooth, marring the look of the smile.
Pros and Cons of Composite Resin Fillings
Tooth-coloured fillings, made of a composite resin material, can be made to match the colour of the tooth it is filling for a seamless look—even at the front of the mouth. Less of the tooth needs to be removed to make room for a tooth-coloured filling. In addition, these bond directly to the tooth, making quite durable.
Drawbacks to tooth-coloured fillings include a bit more time in the dental chair, and sometimes more time means more cost. In some cases, they might not last as long as metal amalgam fillings.
Should I replace my old Amalgam fillings?
In many cases we see the old amalgam fillings doing damage to your teeth, cracking them and allowing bacteria to intrude into the cracks causing decay. It most cases we can see if that is happening already, or if there is a high chance it could happen when we give you an oral exam. If we see this we will most certainly inform you of the existing condition, and the possible consequences of leaving it as is or treating the problem. We recommend that you talk to your dentist at our Katoomba dental clinic about your mouths current condition, and whether it would be best for your situation to replace your older amalgam fillings. We want to help make sure you make the best decision for your oral health.