Dental Restorations – Are Tooth Colored Fillings Safe?
When a person’s teeth show signs of decay, a dentist may recommend fillings. There are two types of fillings a dentist may use, composite resin or metal, usually in the form of amalgam alloy. Composite fillings are either white or tooth-colored, which is why many patients prefer those over metal ones. However, some patients may question the safety of composite resin. After all, amalgam contains slight traces of mercury — does that mean composite does as well?
The safety of tooth-colored fillings
Unlike amalgam, composite resin does not contain any traces of mercury, making it a risk-free option for restoring teeth. Moreover, many patients often have allergic reactions to amalgam or experience increased sensitivity. This is rarely the case with composite resin, which is a mixture of ceramic and plastic.
That said, every patient reacts differently to different procedures and different materials. An individual should consult with a dentist before agreeing to any type of dental treatment.
Tooth-colored fillings versus metal
For patients to make an informed decision regarding filling material, it is helpful to know the pros and cons of both resin and amalgam.
The advantages of composite fillings
In addition to posing little to no health risks, tooth-colored filling materials offer several benefits. The material is more aesthetically pleasing than silver, as a dentist will often color-match the resin to the natural tooth.
Patients also cite less discomfort when having a tooth filled with composite resin over amalgam, which may be the result of two factors. For one, resin composite quickly bonds to the surface of the tooth. Two, applying resin involves less drilling than using metal, which helps to preserve the maximum amount of tooth structure. Finally, patients experience less tooth sensitivity with resin than with silver.
The downsides of composite
Amalgam fillings last for about 10 to 15 years. Composite resin, on the other hand, lasts for half that, generally between five to seven years. This means more frequent replacement. It also takes longer to apply composite fillings than it does amalgam, which equates to higher cost. Moreover, composite stains easily, especially when it comes into contact with substances such as tea, coffee and tobacco. The material does not respond to tooth whitening treatments, either.
The advantages of amalgam fillings
Though not as aesthetically pleasing as composite, amalgam does have its benefits, the two biggest of which are cost and longevity. Silver fillings cost far less than resin ones, and they last two times longer. Metal is also much more durable than composite resin, making amalgam a better option for back teeth.
The downside of amalgam
The most obvious pitfall of amalgam is, of course, its appearance. Silver is very noticeable in the mouth, especially when used on the front teeth. Applying amalgam fillings also entails removing some of the healthy tooth structure, which many dentists are reluctant to do. Patients with metal fillings also report increased sensitivity to hot and cold and additional tooth damage, as fluctuating temperatures cause the metal to expand and contract. Finally, amalgam contains small traces of mercury, which deters many patients.
Tooth-colored composite resin is an excellent material for restoring the teeth. If you need fillings, talk to your dentist about the possibility of using this material over metal.
Are you considering getting fillings in the San Antonio area? Get more information at https://www.preferreddentalcenter.com.
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