When it comes to fillings, you have to basic options: amalgam fillings or composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals, and composite fillings are made from ceramic and plastic compounds. Each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
What are amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings are what are commonly known as “silver fillings”. These filings are made out of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. The mercury that binds the metals together makes up around 50% off the filling. This combination makes them strong and durable.The mercury, when combined with other metals, is a safe and stable compound. This kind of filling has a long track record and has been around since the late 19th century.However, unlike composite fillings, they are very noticeable and can discolor teeth as light cannot pass through the tooth naturally. Some people can be sensitive to the metals that are used in the amalgam.
What are composite fillings?
Composite fillings are a resin made from ceramic and plastic compounds. Because of this, they can be matched to the natural color of your tooth and the filings can blend into your smile. These are often known as “white fillings” or “tooth-colored fillings”. These filings have the great advantage of being nearly invisible. They are also very easy to adhere to the tooth, as they bond to the surface of the tooth. Best of all, they preserve the maximum amount of tooth. Because the resin is easily shaped to match your teeth, this means that less drilling is required. It is important to note that the procedure to get a composite filling may take a little longer than amalgam fillings. Additionally, because white fillings don’t contain mercury so there are no health risks associated with the use of white fillings. Some people even experience less post-treatment discomfort and sensitivity from composite fillings.
How long do composite fillings last?
Despite the immense advancements in dental technology over the past few years, fillings do have a finite period of use after which they start to fail. This means it is important to see a dentist as soon as the dental filling begins to fail. Luckily, white composite fillings are good for seven to ten years in healthy patients. However, this data is based on older types of dental fillings and significant advancements in filling manufacturing have increased this number. Newer studies have found that white composite fillings are beginning to reach the same amount of durability as amalgam fillings. They can potentially last for up to 12 years if taken care of properly.
Are white fillings strong?
While white composite fillings have a reputation of being weaker than amalgam fillings, new developments in the materials that are used have made them much stronger than in the past. This means that more people are choosing white fillings over amalgam fillings in order to preserve their natural smile.
How much does dental composite cost?
On average, the cost for a composite filling ranges between $300 to $600 per tooth, however, most dental plans cover the cost of the procedure and most of the cost of bonding. Insurance companies will often cover the filling when it is done for structural reasons or to fill a cavity. Getting a dental composite often requires a single visit to the dentist. Sometimes this procedure is called dental bonding, as the resin is bonded to the tooth after being sculpted, shaped, hardened and polished. This kind of composite is ideal for small cosmetic dental work, or for smaller cavities.
What does dental bonding involve?
The procedure generally begins with a gentle phosphoric acid being applied to the tooth. This is painless and provides a surface for the composite to be bonded to. The putty-like resin is then placed on the tooth surface, shaped and sculpted. Finally, a special light is used to harden the resin and set it. Then it is polished and buffed for a smooth finish. The entire process takes around 30 to 60 minutes per tooth. Anesthesia is often unnecessary unless the bonding is used to fill a decayed tooth. Compared to other forms of tooth repair, like crowns or veneers, composite fillings require the least amount of enamel to be removed.If you think dental composite fillings are for you, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Serving the Following Communities in Rancho Cucamonga: Fontana CA • Clairmont CA • Ontario CA • Upland CA • Montclair CA