Among the many restorative procedures that dentists provide, dental fillings are by far the most common. They repair cavities by replacing the decayed portions of tooth structures that must be removed. At one time, people only had access to all-metal amalgam fillings. Now, however, they’re also able to choose tooth-colored, composite fillings to renew their smiles. Following are some helpful things to know about the differences and similarities between the two.
How Do They Repair Cavities?
Most people will likely develop at least one, small-sized cavity at some point in their lives. When damage caused by cavities isn’t extensive, the natural tooth structure can be saved. This is accomplished by first extracting all of the decayed materials and then recreating the tooth structure by inserting a filling. Treatments with composite and amalgam material are very much the same.
Differences and Similarities
One primary difference between amalgam and tooth-colored or composite fillings is the fact that composite ones must be cured as part of the treatment process. This is done with a special light that hardens the composite and increases its overall durability. This is not a necessary step with the amalgam type. Instead, an amalgam filling is simply pushed into place and shaped to fit the newly cleaned cavity.
For many people, the major and most important difference between composite and amalgam fillings is their composition. Dental amalgam is comprised of various metals like silver and mercury. Certain metals and metal alloys have the inherent ability to adhere to the teeth, thereby creating a solid bond. Composites are a mix of polymers that have a similar ability to adhere to the surface of the teeth. The lack of mercury in these composites is often appealing to consumers due to the potentially toxic effects of mercury. Certain tests can be performed ahead of treatment to determine whether or not a person is allergic to this metal.
Not only do composite fillings lack mercury, but they’re also more aesthetically appealing than the amalgam type. Composite can be designed to perfectly match the color of the patient’s natural teeth. When done correctly, it is often impossible to detect that they were even put in.
Our skilled dentist at Brevard Smiles will consider various factors when recommending the best type of treatment for you. Contact us today to book a dental appointment in Rockledge or Indian Harbour Beach.