In today’s message, we discuss fillings.
What is a composite filling?
Composite fillings are fabricated with a mixture of glass or quartz and resin which results in a natural tooth-colored material. They are extremely durable when bonded to the tooth with adhesive.
What is an amalgam filling?
Amalgam fillings are also called “silver fillings” though they aren’t 100% silver. Dental amalgam is about 50% mercury with some silver, tin, and copper. Mercury creates a durable compound with other metals. This type of filling has been used to fill cavities in teeth since 1895.
Some people claim that mercury fillings are linked to chronic diseases. In fact, some dentists (known as “holistic” or “mercury-free”) have founded practices around replacing amalgam fillings with composite fillings. However, many respected medical and scientific associations have long asserted that amalgam fillings are safe. This includes the American Dental Association, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Mayo Clinic, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
This is from the International Journal of Dentistry:
1) Mercury released from dental amalgam restorations does not contribute to systemic disease or systemic toxicological effects
2) Allergic reactions to mercury from dental amalgam restorations have been demonstrated, but these are extremely rare
3) Available scientific data do not justify the discontinuation of dental amalgam use from clinical practice or the replacement with other single-tooth restorative dental materials
(Source: Uçar Y, Brantley WA. Section 5. Conclusions: Biocompatibility of Dental Amalgams. Int J Dent 2011;2011:981595. doi:10.1155/2011/981595. Accessed April 5, 2016.)
Do you have a son or daughter with amalgam fillings and are concerned about safety? Schedule a consultation with Dentist Soper to discuss your questions.
Is a composite filling the same as a white filling?
Yes, informally. The term “white filling” has become a descriptive term. Composite fillings are made to look exactly like the patient’s tooth color. Compared to amalgam fillings–which don’t match the color of teeth–they are whitish, white with a slight yellow tint, or white with a slight gray tint depending on the color of the tooth.
What’s the difference between composite fillings and amalgam fillings?
As discussed previously, these fillings are engineered using different materials. Composite fillings have the benefit of blending seamlessly with the tooth. In some situations–such as a large cavity in a molar–an amalgam filling may be considered. Keep in mind that a composite filling has proved to be a strong and stable restoration.
Are amalgam fillings still used?
Despite the popularity of tooth-colored fillings, some Cincinnati dentists still find amalgam fillings most appropriate for some situations. Unfortunately, some dental insurance providers and state Medicaid plans don’t cover composite fillings.
Do you have more questions about fillings?
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