When the dentist finds a hole or crack in your tooth, he first tries to repair it,
making a tooth filling. In most cases, it is filling the cavity, and protect the
tooth surface from infiltrations. The fillings are usually made from amalgam
(silver filling) or composite resin (white filling).
For anyone who’s wondering which is the better option for dental repair, we briefly outlined the pros and cons of these tooth filling options in dental clinic.
Tooth filling, what are the options?
To make a tooth crack or hole fill, your dentist will probably choose between 2 types of fillings:
- Composite resin.
- Silver amalgam.
Both types of materials can be effectively used to fill holes and properly protect your teeth from further damage.
Composite Resin – White filling:
A resin is composed of thin porcelain particles that blend together to form a sealed material.
The material comes in the form of non-attached particles (monomers) which are joined together by special light and become one block (polymer). The material comes in different shades to allow for maximum aesthetic. Can be more transparent or less textured to give it an opaque look.
While the mixture is still compressible, it is gently inserted into the tooth and designed to fit your tooth and bite. Once the filler is in place and properly designed, the dentist will allow it to harden by a special ultraviolet light used to help the material bind to the tooth and speed up the hardening process.
Amalgam – Silver filling:
Silver amalgam is a very soft metal compound consisting of copper, silver and mercury. Mercury constitutes is almost 50% of the mixture, giving the final material the silvery gray appearance. After mixing the dental amalgam, the dentist gently compresses it into the hole drilled inside the tooth. The amalgam surface is formed to fit the tooth structure and the bite with the opposite tooth.
The amalgam has been approved for dental use by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and has been declared safe for patients. At the same time, many try to stop the use of amalgam because it contains a small amount of mercury. The mercury helps to make the filler flexible to fit the tooth, while hardening enough to be strong and resistant to the chewing forces.
Studies have shown that the amount of mercury in tooth filling is much lower than the amount of mercury people encounter in their nutrition in their daily lives. The risk of mercury poisoning is almost zero and exists for a few minutes, once the material hardens there is no risk. No evidence of mercury-poisoned patients due to amalgam fillings. However, experts still recommend that pregnant women avoid such fillings during pregnancy.
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