Even if you and your family maintain good oral hygiene, sometimes tooth decay or other issues may appear despite your best efforts. However, regular dental check-ups will be sure to catch cavities before they become bigger problems.
At Novel Dental Group, we use either a composite white resin filling material that mimics the look of natural tooth structure and bond to the tooth chemically or a silver amalgam filling – in which both restores much of the tooth’s function.
What are composite fillings?
Dental composite fillings are essentially standard tooth fillings that are coloured to resemble the natural colour of your original tooth. They are also known as;
- Resin fillings
- White fillings
- Tooth-coloured fillings
Functions of a composite filling?
- Repair cracks
- Fissures (patterns on the tops of your back teeth)
- Decay in affected teeth
Composite fillings remain one of the most popular options to restore teeth to their former appearance, mainly due to their aesthetic advantages (being coloured to match your existing tooth or teeth). However, fillings that are placed on the back teeth and use the same material as what is used on the front teeth. Though, most front tooth fillings now use composite fillings as they’re designed to match the colour of your teeth. Posterior fillings can still be amalgam (silver/metal) – based to suit your preferences, requirements and budget.
Advantages of composite fillings?
- They look more aesthetically pleasing since they match your natural tooth colour and appearance.
- They require less drilling, so not as much tooth structure needs to be removed.
- They harden in seconds instead of days like other materials.
- They bond to the tooth giving it greater strength, which helps prevent breaks.
- A filling treatment can be completed in one visit.
- They can be repaired if damaged.
- Composite resin can be used in combination with other materials, such as pin, post or screw, to provide the strength of the crown.
Disadvantages of Composite fillings
- You may experience some brief tooth sensitivity following the procedure
- They tend to wear out sooner than metal fillings, especially if you have heavy wear from grinding and chewing
- They may stain from frequent and/or prolonged exposure to coffee, tea, red wine and other foods with staining properties
- They can degrade from recurrent and/or extended exposure to high alcohol content drinks
- They’re more expensive than silver fillings.
- These fillings take more time to place. That’s because they are usually placed in layers. The increased time and labour involved also contribute to the higher cost.
What are amalgam fillings?
Amalgam filling is an alloy made from mercury and other metals, such as copper, silver and tin. Your dentist prepares an amalgam filling by mixing liquid mercury with a powder containing the other metal components. It is also known as;
Functions of amalgam fillings?
- They are often the least expensive material for dental fillings.
- The material itself is very durable and long-lasting.
- They harden quickly, making placement faster.
Advantages of Amalgam
- They are very durable and capable of lasting for over a decade or more with proper care
- Due to their strength, they can fill fairly large cavities within the teeth
- The lower expense of amalgam fillings can be a relief to patients on a budget
- Their fast hardening capability can make treatment less stressful for kids or special needs patients
Disadvantages of Amalgam
back to treatments
- Patients with metal allergies may have a bad reaction to amalgam (although, this is rare)
- They are visible and noticeable on the back teeth if your mouth is open wide
- Amalgam fillings may expand and contract with temperature exposure, resulting in fractures