At Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster we are here to help you understand everything you need to know about resin and amalgam fillings. We have been providing a full range of dental services to adults and children since 1973. Getting a cavity filled is a simple procedure, but your dentist may offer you a choice of various materials for your filling. Knowing the pros and cons of each material in advance will make your decision easier.
Dental amalgam is a mixture of a number of metals, including mercury, silver, copper, and tin. This compound is extremely durable and resistant to large forces, making it very suitable as a material for fillings. Many dentists prefer metal amalgam fillings to be used on the chewing surfaces of the molars, which undergo extreme wear and tear over years of grinding down food. Amalgam is also favored by dentists because it is easy to work with. There is very little waiting time between setting the filling and it being completely cured.
Amalgam fillings have come under scrutiny in recent years because of the mercury content of the filling and the health risks of exposure to high levels of mercury. Fortunately, when chemically bonded to other metals in the form of a filling, it is not possible for mercury to enter the bloodstream and cause health problems. Research by the American Dental Association has found that dental amalgam is a safe material for use in fillings.
Resin composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and ceramic compounds. Their main advantage is their white color which blends in with the natural color of tooth enamel. For this reason, resin composite dental fillings are the first choice for fillings near the front of the mouth that are visible when smiling. When they were first developed, resin fillings were not strong enough to be used on the back molars. Over the past 15 years, however, advances in technology have improved their durability, allowing them to be used on all teeth.
Resin fillings are generally more expensive than amalgam fillings. They are also slightly more difficult for your dentist to successfully complete, as the area of the dental cavity must be kept completely dry while the material is being applied and cured. This can be done using rubber dams and specialized tools, but it is difficult when the cavity extends below the gumline. Whereas amalgam fillings often last more than 20 years, resin fillings have not been around long enough to prove their long-term durability.
Knowing the differences between resin and amalgam fillings will help you understand the options when it comes to deciding which is right for you. At Bertagnolli Dental, we are committed to giving all of our patients the best results and the most comfortable experience. We’ll help you select the right material for your filling while taking into account all of your concerns about cosmetics, durability, health effects and cost. For more information on fillings or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today.