Gallery - Other
Different materials are used to "fill" a
cavity in a tooth, give it support, and prevent further
decay. There are two commonly used materials for filling
teeth today, silver amalgam and composite resin. While
silver fillings have been the standard material for
many years, they can look unsightly and do have some
potential medical concerns.
silver fillings: Silver
amalgam has been the filling material of choice for
many years. However, a growing number of dentists
are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety
of silver amalgams. Silver fillings are composed of
35% silver, 15% tin, a little trace of zinc, and approximately
It is the mercury that has these dentists concerned,
due to its high level of toxicity. These dentists
believe that over time, mercury vapor is released
from these fillings, thus endangering the patient.
The American Dental Association states that the mercury
in dental amalgam is harmless; however, they recommend
that those individuals with a weakened immune system,
or mercury allergy should avoid having amalgam fillings
put in their mouths.
Silver amalgams are a very durable filling material,
and are less expensive than composite resin materials.
Silver fillings do have some drawbacks. They are not
aesthetically pleasing and over time may cause teeth
to turn gray. They also expand as they age, which
can cause teeth to crack or break.
comosite resin fillings:
Resin fillings are the same natural color as your
own teeth. They are often bonded to the tooth, which
helps to strengthen it. Composite resin fillings also
require the removal of less tooth structure than silver
fillings, allowing you to keep more of your natural
They are more expensive than silver fillings but
are considered to be a more conservative treatment
due to the fact that they strengthen the tooth.
If you currently have silver fillings, they can be
easily replaced with the composite fillings to match
your own teeth. If you have a new cavity, your dentist
will likely offer you the composite material over
silver fillings. The same composite material can be
used to improve the overall apperance of your teeth
as well, with composite dental bonding.