What To Know When Choosing Between Amalgam or Composite Dental Fillings

Cavities are an unfortunate fact of life for many people. In fact, it’s estimated that a third of adults in Australia have tooth decay and need treatment. The truth is that regular brushing, flossing, and even visits to a good dentist, such as this dentist Fortitude Valley, won’t always stop cavities and fillings from being needed.

It will help you keep your own teeth into old age!

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are silver in colour, which means they are easy to see in your mouth, especially when talking or smiling. The filling is made from a mixture of materials, primarily metals. This makes them very strong and capable of lasting 10 years or more. 

The metals are liquid mercury, silver, tin, and copper. This is what gives them the colour and makes them so durable. 

However, it should be noted that mercury is highly toxic. While an amalgam filling has very little mercury and is not deemed to be a risk to the body, it is worth knowing that it’s in your filling.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are made of resin, plastic, and ceramic. These three substances bond together to make a tough coating that fills a cavity and protects the tooth from further decay.

It is important to note that composite fillings are much tougher today than when they originally arrived on the dental scene. But, they are still not as tough as amalgam and will wear down over time. 

Composite fillings also tend to be more expensive than amalgam and are not always covered by health insurance.

However, they do offer the benefit of matching your teeth, making their presence in your mouth invisible. 

Choosing Between Composite & Amalgam

It’s advisable to consult with your dentist regarding which ones they offer and what they recommend. Composite has a distinct advantage, despite being more expensive.

This is because it is natural-looking. There are few dentists that won’t use composite on front teeth as it will affect your smile. Considering your smile has been linked to self-confidence any filling on the front teeth should be done with a composite material.

However, if the issue is with teeth further back in your mouth then your decision may centre on cost. It’s cheaper to have an amalgam filling, although more noticeable. It’s unlikely to affect your smile but you will be aware of it. This could still affect your self-confidence and you need to consider if the composite filling is a better option.

Equally, composite fillings don’t have any known health risks. In contrast, amalgam contains mercury which isn’t well-tolerated by your body. The mercury is contained within the tooth and it’s said it won’t leach out. But, if you are concerned about health issues you may find it preferable to choose the composite filling.

The Bottom Line

Your dentist will make a recommendation but the final decision is yours. From a safety and confidence point of view, composite is the clear winner. Amalgam only wins if budget is a serious concern. 


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