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Composite Filling Vs. Amalgam Filling

When you visit your dentist for a filling appointment, you have to make a decision. Which material do you choose – composite resins or amalgam metallic alloys? The two kinds of fillings are also popularly called white and silver fillings, respectively, to indicate their colors. Each of the materials have their pros and cons.

What Is The Difference?

Composite fillings: These contain a plastic resin which is initially soft but strengthens when it is exposed to a curing process under blue light. They can be used for any size of cavity, no matter how small, and are available in a wide range of colors and can be matched to your teeth almost perfectly. Another advantage is that they won't darken over time. However, they have a few disadvantages too. During the procedure, no water should be introduced and the tooth should be dry. Otherwise, their life span reduces. Since they are softer than amalgams, they wear out quicker. If you grind your teeth, they will wear out even faster. They also require you to maintain very good dental hygiene; otherwise, cavities may develop around the edges of the filling. Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to maintain these fillings and keep teeth healthy.

Amalgam fillings: While composite fillings have only been around for about 4 decades, amalgams have been in use for almost a century. They are a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. However, unlike composites, amalgam fillings need to be of a certain minimum size. If your cavity is very small, it may not be possible to choose this option, unless you are willing to live with irregularly shaped teeth. Further, they are available only in one color: silver. But, compared to composites, they have a much longer life span. While you still need to maintain good oral hygiene, lest you suffer from recurring cavities, any cavities formed along the edges of amalgam fillings will be automatically sealed off and it becomes difficult for bacteria to go deeper into your teeth. Finally, amalgam fillings are comparatively cheaper than composite ones.

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