Today’s patients are very lucky. There are numerous materials that can be used to restore teeth. These materials include but are not limited to amalgam (silver), composite resin, porcelain and gold. This is a wide range of materials and it can get confusing as to what should be placed in a particular situation.
Dental amalgam or silver has been around for over 100 years. Dental amalgam has been the most thoroughly tested of the materials, It can be easier to use in certain situations that cannot be kept as dry as others. It is the most economical of filling materials. The negatives of amalgam are that it is certainly not esthetic. It does not bond directly to the tooth. Because of this reason it is necessary to create undercuts in the tooth so it may need to be a little larger. Amalgam fillings can be more sensitive to temperature once they are placed. There has been concern in recent years that since amalgam contains mercury it could be toxic. The FDA, CDC, WHO and the US Public Health Service have concluded that amalgam is a safe and reliable material.
Composite Resins are a mixture of glass or quartz in a resin. Resins provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small or mid-size fillings. You need to remove less tooth structure with resin fillings. Resins are bonded to the tooth so they can be a little stronger. Composites are a little more expensive than amalgams but the materials are more costly and the technique takes longer.
Porcelain, gold and porcelain fused to gold. These materials are great materials for restorations to be made of. These restorations are generally bonded or cemented to the remaining tooth structure. Restorations made of these materials may be a little bit more costly in the short term but can last over a longer period of time as long as the patient is practicing good oral hygiene and visiting their dentist for routine exams.
What Dental Material Is Best For Me?
The material that is best for each situation, is best determined by the extent of the problem, the location of the problem, and the desired esthetics of the situation. Work with your dentist to determine what would be the best restorative material for your particular case and situation.