Amalgam has been dentists’ go-to material to treat cavities for over 150 years. Although amalgam fillings (silver coloured) are durable, dentistry has come a long way in the last few decades and so more patients are opting for composite fillings (white coloured) to restore their smile. Why? Here are 5 reasons…
Reason 1: natural looking
Firstly, the most obvious benefit of composite fillings is the aesthetic of them. We as dentists can blend colours to mimic the exact shade of your natural teeth, which gives a discreet, seamless look, and makes the fillings virtually invisible in the mouth. Some patients often feel self-conscious having silver (amalgam) fillings as they are easy to spot when opening your mouth. Replacing them with composite makes for a whiter smile and gets rid of dark patches in the mouth. You can smile, laugh, talk, and yawn with confidence — nobody will notice the filling.
Reason 2: preserves the natural tooth structure
Composite is directly bonded onto the surface of the tooth, which prevents further breakage, adds support, and strengthens the weakened tooth. Unlike large amalgam fillings, only the decayed part of the tooth is removed to be replaced with composite resin. This allows us to retain more of the natural, healthy tooth enamel.
Reason 3: durability
Composite has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Initially the material wasn’t deemed strong enough to fill cavities in the back teeth, due to grinding and chewing, however, due to dental advances, the material is now strong enough to be placed anywhere in the mouth without fear of cracking.
Reason 4: expansion and contraction
Amalgam fillings may expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold temperatures, which can result in fractures. Composite on the other hand, isn’t affected by temperature or prone to expanding or contracting.
Reason 5: versatile
We use composite for various treatments other than filling a cavity. In addition to treating decayed teeth, it can be used for fixing chips and cracks as well as cosmetic improvements, such as changing the colour of teeth or even reshaping teeth with edge bonding or composite veneers.