Previously, when you needed a dental filling, your only option was to receive a dark metal (amalgam) filling. While these fillings have been widely used for decades because they are affordable and effective, you now have an alternative option. Advancements in dentistry now allow for tooth-colored fillings to be used. Now, you no longer have to live with a dark blemish in your smile as the fillings match your enamel color. But, which is the best option? As your Kenmore dentist, Dr. Amin Taba explains the differences between the two types of fillings.
Traditional Amalgam Fillings
Traditional amalgam fillings have held a common place in dentistry for decades because they are effective and affordable. The metal fillings are made from a mixture of silver, mercury, tin, and copper; however, about 50 percent of the filling is mercury. The use of mercury allows the metals to bond together, forming a strong, hard, and highly durable filling.
Often, dentists prefer this type of filling because they are more cost-effective while also remaining more reliable, which is why roughly 1 billion metal fillings are placed each year. However, while the fillings are effective, there are some drawbacks. In addition to a dark, noticeable appearance, over time, the filling can cause the tooth to become darker as the mercury seeps into the tooth. There is also some debate about the safety of the fillings long term due to the use of mercury. However, the use of these fillings are still considered safe for use by all major dental organizations and associations.
The popularity of tooth-colored fillings in Kenmore is quickly on the rise. Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin material. As a result, the filling can be customized to match your existing enamel color for a repair that blends in seamlessly with your natural teeth. In the past, many tended to avoid composite resin fillings because they were not as durable as metal fillings. However, due to various advancements, tooth-colored fillings now withstand the test of time in terms of durability. In fact, they can even be used on posterior or back teeth now.
Metal Fillings vs. Tooth-Colored Fillings
There is quite a great deal of debate surrounding which form of filling is actually best. Metal fillings have been used for more than 150 years with a proven track record of success. On the other hand, the use of composite resin fillings produces nearly identical results without causing a blemish to the smile or mercury exposure.
Currently, both the American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration report that metal fillings are safe and effective. However, more and more patients are turning to tooth-colored fillings as a more attractive repair. No matter if you need a new filling or would like to have an old metal filling removed, Dr. Amin Taba offers tooth-colored fillings.
If you are interested in composite resin fillings, be aware some dental insurances only cover the use of the fillings on certain teeth. We will work with your insurance company to help determine which type of filling is covered under your current plan.