Crofton Dentist Dr. Chris Kim Helps You Choose Silver Fillings or White Composite Fillings
Dr Kim will help you decide which type of filling will be best for you by taking into account the size and location of the cavity, your dental history, cosmetic concerns and cost. Ask Dr. Kim to discuss all of the choices available for dental fillings. He will help you decide which alternative is right for you.
Today dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials to fill cavities. Among the choices are natural tooth-colored materials such as resin-based composite fillings and more traditional dental fillings such as those made of metal amalgam. The advent of new resin materials for fillings has been beneficial, especially in terms of aesthetics, but does not eliminate the appropriateness of traditional dental materials that are stronger, more durable and less expensive. These materials are best in situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Choosing Traditional Silver Amalgam Fillings
Some dentists prefer dental amalgam because it is easier to work with than other alternatives. Amalgam fillings are considered stronger than the resin-based composite, and therefore use amalgam for back teeth fillings. Many patients prefer dental amalgam for the same reasons, plus its cost-effectiveness and ability to fill cavities quickly.
Choosing White Composite Fillings
Resin composite fillings are made of ceramic and plastic compounds. Because resins mimic the appearance of natural teeth, these fillings have been used in front teeth for years. In the past 10 years, technology has improved enough to allow the use of resin material in posterior or back teeth. Still, many insurance plans do not cover resin fillings in teeth that aren’t visible in a smile, and many dentists choose not to use resins for one or more of these reasons:
- With more durable resin material available for only a decade, resins haven’t stood the test of time in teeth where grinding and chewing result in heavy wear; by contrast, the durability of amalgam fillings is well documented — the average life span of amalgams is 8 to 10 years, but many last 20 years or more.
- Amalgam is one of the best filling materials when dentists need to place fillings in areas of the mouth that are difficult to keep dry, such as molars (back teeth) or cavities below the gumline. Resin fillings need a specific environment in which to be placed; for example, the prepared tooth must be completely dry when the resin material is being applied and cured. Clinical experience has consistently shown that amalgam is, for a great many situations, still the most reliable filling material for long-term, low-maintenance function.
- Resin costs more than amalgam, which can make the cost of the service higher than for a comparable amalgam filling.
The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains that dental amalgam remains a safe, affordable and durable cavity filling choice for dental patients. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend the removal of amalgam fillings from patients who have them because this could cause more harm to the tooth structure and pose other health risks to the patient.
Call Dr. Kim and set up an appointment at his Crofton Maryland Dental Clinic: (410) 721-3567