Amalgam or Composite Fillings? Part 2
Composite fillings are usually more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. Composite materials offer an aesthetic alternative to traditional amalgam materials. Because composites can be bonded to teeth, they provide a better seal against leakage and further decay. As such, people who have previously received amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to have them replaced with composite.
Safety and Appearance: In addition to having a more pleasing and natural tooth-like appearance, porcelain and composite fillings have the potential advantage of not containing mercury or other metals that may contribute to sensitivity or toxicity. Mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings is a controversial subject, though no research to date has been able to show any risks of having mercury as a component of amalgam fillings. However, many patients do have metal sensitivities and some have reported a metal taste after the placement of amalgam.
Durability: Composites previously were not as durable as amalgams. However, dental manufacturers have made great strides in improving the strength of composite resin materials, to the effect that composite fillings now have the potential to be used for all teeth, including molars. Furthermore, composite materials often require less tooth preparation and may not weaken the affected tooth as much as amalgam fillings, which often require more extensive tooth preparation. However, amalgam fillings do have a long-term track record.
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