What to Look for in Amalgam and Composite Dental Fillings

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At the dental office of Kimberlee J. Karey, DDS, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dr. Karey is pleased to offer our patients both silver amalgam fillings and tooth-colored composite fillings, the most common dental fillings used in today’s fillings, and both have their advantages.

Amalgam fillings–also known as silver or mercury fillings–are made of a mixture of silver, tin, copper, zinc and mercury. Stronger than composite fillings, they are ideal for the molars supporting the pressures of chewing. They also wear down less quickly than composite fillings. Amalgam fillings contain a small amount of mercury in them which is still less than what you would ingest if you ate fish. Because the amalgam filling doesn’t bond to your tooth like a composite filling does, your dentist needs to make the filling wider at the bottom, which means cutting part of the tooth’s healthy structure, which isn’t necessary with composite filings. Amalgam fillings cost less than composite fillings, and they last longer on larger surfaces.

One of the most popular reasons patients choose composite fillings (or white fillings) are because they blend in with your own teeth, making your smile look natural. They are perfect for small to mid-size cavities and today are strong enough to be used on the back teeth as well as the front. With a composite filling, your dentist doesn’t need to cut away healthy tooth structure because the composite resin bonds to the tooth. Composite fillings do shrink a tiny bit when they harden which might allow bacteria to enter, making them technique sensitive, and your dentist must make sure no moisture is present when placing the filling. Composite fillings last can last anywhere from 7-10 years, which is about the same for silver fillings, unless it is a large filling.

Dr. Karey is pleased to offer our patients both silver amalgam fillings and tooth-colored composite fillings for your smile. If it is time for your next dental checkup or if you are experiencing problems with a filling, you can reach our team in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by calling 734.668.6612 today!