WHAT’S IN YOUR MOUTH?
Dental work is not always pleasant. But most of us agree that it is important for our optimum health and function. No one wants to go to the dentist any more than is absolutely necessary. So when it comes to dental fillings, we want them to last a long time and we want materials that are safe for our body.
There are different dental materials used for fillings and each has its pros and cons.
AMALGAM DENTAL FILLINGS
Amalgam fillings are probably the most noticeable filling material for a couple of reasons. The first is that the amalgam filling has been around for 150 years. Amalgam can be seen in the mouths of several generations. The second reason is that amalgam is silver colored and is easily noticeable in an opened mouth. It is made from silver, tin, copper, mercury and zinc. The advantage of amalgam is that it is inexpensive and durable. Disadvantages include the fact that over time they can darken and give the teeth a black appearance. Some have concern that mercury in the amalgam has the potential to leak into the body and cause damage.
COMPOSITE, RESIN OR WHITE FILLINGS
Composite fillings have been in use for about 20 years. They are made of an organic polymer and inorganic particles. The advantages of composite fillings are that they require less drilling and blend in with the tooth. A disadvantage is that composites are usually more expensive than amalgam.
Both Amalgams and Composites are considered safe and are approved as dental fillings by the American Dental Association
Yet another material used for dental fillings is porcelain. Porcelain fillings, used most commonly as inlays, are composed of non-crystalline glass. The advantage of porcelain is that it is aesthetic looking. The disadvantages are that porcelain can be susceptible to damage due to brittleness and it is more expensive.
Gold fillings are composed of an alloy of 75% gold, along with copper, silver, platinum, palladium and zinc. Advantages are that gold fillings are well tolerated by the gums and can last twice as long as other fillings. The disadvantages include higher expense than amalgams and composites. They do not look as good as composite or porcelain.
ASK YOUR DENTIST
Ask your dentist which dental filling material could be most appropriate for you.
Dr. Lohmann takes time to personally explain filling material choices to every patient, so the best choice can be made for that person’s situation and condition.