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The Difference Between Amalgam and Tooth-Colored Fillings

Cavities are among the most common dental problems, so it’s safe to say that most people have been to their semi-annual checkup and cleaning and found out they needed to get a filling. Your dentist uses them to treat cavities or broken teeth in order to protect them from bacteria and further decay. What you may not have considered is that there are multiple fillings your dentist has to offer, each with different benefits. Read on to learn the difference between both and the best ways to care for them.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years and can be found in millions of patients. They’re made from a combination of metals including silver, tin, and copper. About 50% of the filling contains mercury but has been declared safe for adults and children 6 years or older by the FDA. The mercury makes the filling flexible and easy to form to the tooth.

Amalgam fillings is the less expensive option between the two and typically have a longer lifespan of about 10 years. Your teeth go through years of crunching, chewing, and pressure, so it makes sense that fillings wear down quickly. Amalgams tend to hold up better over time because of the materials they’re made from. Some people may experience a reaction to the metals once they’re placed in your mouth, so in some cases, tooth-colored or composite fillings may be the best option for you.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Some people prefer tooth-colored or composite fillings because they blend in with your smile. They’re made of a composite resin that contains plastics and glass, allowing them to easily mold to fit your tooth as well as protect it from decay. Your dentist is able to match the color of the filling to your enamel, so they remain practically unnoticeable.

New research shows that tooth-colored fillings aren’t just good looking, but they also offer benefits to your oral health. Composite fillings don’t expand and contract like other fillings, so there’s less chance of it fracturing and causing an infection. Additionally, because the composite resin bonds with your teeth, your dentist won’t have to remove as much of the natural tooth structure.

Caring for Your Fillings

Properly taking care of your fillings can help them last longer. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings is a great way to identify whether you need to have a filling replaced. They can check to see if it’s loose or cracked and replace it before it becomes a problem. Additionally, brushing twice a day and flossing as well as using antibacterial mouthwash can help keep bacteria and plaque off your teeth and protect the areas surrounding your fillings.

No matter what filling your dentist recommends, knowing the benefits each has to offer can put your mind at rest. Tackling cavities isn’t as bad as you think. Feel secure in your decision and ask your dentist questions you may have to make the process a positive one.

About the Author

Dr. Christopher Pollard has been crafting bright and healthy smiles for over 3 decades. As an active member of the Texas Dental Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and many more, he’s able to provide you with the most up-to-date and highest quality of care you could wish for! You don’t have to value expertise over experience, because Dr. Pollard gives you the best of both! For any questions or to schedule an appointment, visit Dental Renaissance’s website or contact 972-954-2643.

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