If you’re looking at cosmetic dental work to fill a few cavities, there are more options for you now than there would have been back in the day.
Tooth filling is one of the most cosmetic dental procedures, so if you need to go in for several, you may be considering trying out tooth-colored, resin-based materials instead of traditional metal, but which one is really better for your teeth?
Dental amalgams, or “silver” fillings, are a mixture of tin, copper and silver, bound together by 50% mercury, the only element that can bind the materials together in a way that can be manipulated during cosmetic dental surgery.
Dentists generally prefer to work with dental amalgam because it’s easier to mold and strong enough to support heavy chewing. This also makes it the preferred filling for back teeth fillings. Amalgam may be more visible, but it’s also easy, cost-effective and quick to use.
Resin composite fillings are a newer addition to filling technology, and mimic the appearance of natural teeth. The ceramic and plastic compounds were generally used for front teeth, but newer technology has allowed dentists to introduce them into the back teeth as well.
However, even though resin fillings have gotten stronger, back teeth resin fillings often aren’t covered by dental insurance. Resin isn’t extensively tested for long term wear, is often more expensive, and is more difficult to place in back teeth.
Most cosmetic dental clinics will create visible fillings with tooth-colored resin and back teeth fillings with durable and cost-effective metal amalgam.
Ultimately, your dentist is the best person to help you decide what fillings are right for your teeth.