Composite vs. Amalgam: Understanding Dental Fillings

When it comes to dental fillings, many patients have questions about the difference between composite and amalgam fillings. At Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we’re committed to providing you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about your oral health. Notably, we no longer use amalgam fillings in our practice, focusing instead on composite fillings for a more aesthetic approach to dental care.

Understanding Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings, known as silver fillings, were popular in dentistry for over 150 years. These fillings consisted of a mixture of metals including silver, tin, copper, and mercury, giving them their distinctive silver color.

These fillings were durable, cost-effective, and able to withstand significant pressure, making them a suitable choice for molar fillings. However, they were also noticeable and did not match the natural color of teeth. Over time, large amalgam fillings can fail, often requiring replacement with crowns for better long-term stability.

While the safety of amalgam fillings has been widely debated due to their mercury content, the consensus among the scientific community, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA), is that they are safe for adults and children over six years old. However, at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we’ve chosen to move away from amalgam fillings in favor of safer, more aesthetically pleasing alternatives.

Embracing Composite Fillings

Composite fillings, or tooth-colored fillings, are made from a resin material that matches your natural teeth. They’re a preferred choice for many reasons.

Aesthetics: The biggest advantage of composite fillings is that they are tooth-colored and can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, making them a great choice for front teeth or other visible parts of the teeth.

Bonding to Tooth Structure: Composite fillings chemically bond to the tooth, providing further support to the tooth, which can help prevent breakage and insulate against temperature changes.

Versatility: In addition to filling decayed areas (cavities), composite materials can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.

Tooth Preservation: Because they bond to the tooth, composite fillings require less removal of healthy tooth structure compared to amalgam fillings. This means more of the original tooth is preserved, which may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam.

Reduced Risk of Allergic Reactions: Composite fillings are made of a plastic resin and silica filler, reducing the risk of allergic reactions that some people experience from metal fillings.

Making the Right Choice

While we no longer use amalgam fillings at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, we understand that each patient has unique dental needs. We’re here to discuss all options with you, so you can make an informed decision about your dental health.

While composite fillings have many benefits, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention through good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups is always the best medicine for your oral health.

To learn more about fillings or to schedule a consultation, contact us at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile!

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