If you have ever had a dental cavity, then you have likely already had a dental filling placed. For many years, fillings were made almost exclusively out of a metal amalgam, that offered an affordable and durable way of protecting teeth that had become fragile from tooth decay. That said, many dentists now offer a more seamless smile solution in the form of composite resin dental fillings, sometimes simply called tooth-colored fillings. So, if you do find yourself in need of restorative treatment for a dental cavity, you may have the option of choosing between a traditional metal filling and a more modern tooth-colored one.
Is a Metal Filling Right for You?
Metal fillings are most often made from a combination of metals, often including tin, zinc, silver and copper. They may also contain mercury, but when combined with the other materials, it is rendered harmless. That is why amalgam fillings have been successfully used for well over 100 years.
These types of fillings tend to be less expensive than composite resin ones, and they are also strong. In fact, they can often last for ten or more years. They can usually be completed during a single office visit, as well.
That said, metal fillings can begin to tarnish after some time. They are also easily spotted.
Filling made of metal also requires more space than composite resin, and may conduct more heat, potentially causing discomfort when eating. It doesn’t bond as tightly with the teeth as composite resin either.
Composite Resin Fillings Could Be Ideal
Composite fillings are made of a combination of plastic and fine glass. In addition to restorative fillings, composite resin is also regularly used for cosmetic dental services to help hide imperfections and to improve a smile’s beauty, because of the natural look of the material.
These types of fillings can also be completed in a single office visit, in most cases. Composite fillings can also last more than 5 years with proper care. They do cost more than metal fillings, though. Another dis-advantage is they can also be stained by beverages like soda, tea, or coffee. Tobacco can also cause the composite resin to look discolored.
Need Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry can help prevent dental problems from worsening and improve overall oral health and comfort.