Composite versus amalgam fillings

Over the years our society has grown increasingly aware of the components which make up what we put in our mouths, this includes our fillings.

Humans are naturally curious creatures: we all want to know what is happening and why – especially where the individual’s health is involved. For some people, feeling completely informed may also reduce any concerns harboured toward visiting a dentist.

What is a filling?

A filling is the most common way to restore a damaged tooth to its former shape and function. In order for your dentist to place a filling, the decayed tooth material needs to be removed and the affected tooth cleaned. Post cleaning, your dentist will then place the chosen material into the void created. Materials most commonly used for fillings in the past include gold, porcelain, composite resin and amalgam (alloy created from mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes even zinc).

At Advanced Dental Care Clinic we chose not to use amalgam, opting to use a tooth-coloured composite resin for the majority of our treatments.

What are amalgam fillings?

Amalgam fillings are made from a number of silver coloured materials. They are a distinct, blaringly obvious grey colour, providing a stark contrast against the natural colour of most people’s teeth. There have also been concerns surrounding the health of patients with amalgam fillings in place due to the mercury content. However, there have been no scientific results to prove there is any reason for concern if you already possess amalgam fillings.

What are composite fillings?

There are several advantages to choosing a composite resin, the first being of an aesthetical value. Composite resin fillings are made of tooth-coloured material and are very discreet. Composite is also renowned for its strength while maintaining flexibility, decreasing the risk of your teeth cracking when stressed.

Should I replace my amalgam fillings?

In short no, you should not replace your filling unnecessarily. Unless the tooth surrounding your filling has already been compromised (for example the prior filling is letting bacteria breed underneath, has cracked or broken down) there is no need to replace the filling. In fact, replacing a still functioning filling purely for cosmetic gain could do more harm than good, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid. Replacing any tooth filling unnecessarily will result in additional substance loss of the tooth, further weakening the tooth’s structure.

Dr Parrag from the Advanced Dental Care Clinic on the Gold Coast discusses amalgam fillings versus composite fillings

If you are concerned that you may need fillings or are re-experiencing surrounding a previously filled area, contact the Advanced Dental Care Clinic to arrange a check-up and discuss your concerns.