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Composite vs. Amalgam - which one to choose?





Tooth decay is a reality that no one would want to face. If you have these dental caries, you must have felt a reduction in your confidence, let alone the pain and agony associated with it.

However, dental science has, like other sciences, provided solutions for many problems including the recovery of a decayed tooth. You must have seen those silver linings on the teeth of some of your friends. Those linings are called amalgam filling. As much as it has provided a solution to protect a tooth from falling away, so has it sparked controversy among the masses. After all, what is the use of a filling that looks exactly like a decayed tooth?


But that is just my speculation. Amalgam filling has been serving the dentistry for 150 years. People had been receiving this tooth recovery treatment for that long.


But that was only because other promising methods weren’t present until the time came when composite filling started gathering its fan base.


However, no matter how old the former method is, or how popular the latter one is, you still need to choose among them according to your condition. But if you leave it to us, we’d definitely recommend the composite filling. Let’s see why.


Why do we recommend the composite filling?


Before we could go into the details of composite filling, let us first know it properly.

A composite filling is an innovation in the science of tooth recovery. As opposed to the amalgam filling, it is a relatively new method and is in a full boom these days.

If we look at the composition of this filling, it is a mixture of plastic and glass (with stricter vocabulary, an oligomer with an organic substance). Not only it has the godly properties of healing your tooth, but it can also resemble closely to that of your tooth colour. This brings us to the points where we educate you about the benefits of composite filling.


1) Good Aesthetics Composite resins have attracted so many people to its folds because of its ability to look exactly like your teeth because of its structure and colour. Although for a dentist, it is a little hard to place it, still, when placed, you wouldn’t even feel you have something foreign in your mouth.

Also, since the composition of the resins are such that they can be easily shaped according to the structure of your teeth, you would be able to smile as brightly as before.


2) Longevity

Both amalgam and composite fillings provide super longevity. But in case of the latter, the long-term protection is not only to the teeth but also to the entire body. This is because unlike the silver filling it doesn’t contain harmful substances that increase the toxicity load of the body (yay! For the liver!).

A composite filling can easily last around 10 to 12 years without cracking and causing secondary carries (tooth decay after the filling).


3) Perks of modern dentistry

There are composite resin haters that quote studies telling about the polymerisation attacks in the type of filling. However, what they don’t know is that the durability of the composite resins depends on the expertise of the dentist, the adhesives that are used to secure the filling to a tooth, and the condition of the patient.


Since it is relatively a new method, certain dentists are still practicing to improve their skill at it. The resins that are developed recently are far better than the ones available in the past. Similarly, the adhesives that are available now have a minimal polymerisation effect. And according to a study, composite resins that are coupled with appropriate adhesive technique can prove to be reliable when it comes to posterior teeth.


The techniques we talked about include the inlay/onlay technique. The inlay technique includes recovery of the teeth through either direct or indirect restoration – the direct being on the spot, and the indirect meaning preparation of the composite resin outside the mouth. The onlay technique is similar to the inlay except that it is mainly used to replace entire tooth cusps.


Well, that was all about the composite resins that can aptly recover your tooth and provide longer protection. We recommended it to you because of these benefits. However, if you are interested in the amalgam filling, read on further to know the risks that come free with it.


1) Hg toxicity

The amalgam filling that we know is composed of a mixture of silver, tin, copper, and mercury (that’s one hell of a list of metals). Well, all the other elements have their own takes on the health, but when it comes to mercury, no one can deny the toxicity that it induces in our bodies. The main target of this element is the peripheral and the central nervous system.


Also, a long-term amalgam filling could result in losing its entire mercury. That lost mercury finds its way nowhere but your digestive system, and then the whole body through ingestion.


2) Poor aesthetic

Remember we said something about the silver lining on the teeth? How do they look to you? To us, those lines are identical to the colour of a decayed tooth. And besides, who has the nerves to keep explaining to the people that your teeth aren’t deteriorated, they are just restored with silver filling?

The amalgam filling cannot be shaped according to your teeth; it cannot look like anything remotely like the colour of your teeth, and it would release plenty of mercury into your bloodstream. Do you see now why we preferred the composite filling?


3) Expansion of amalgam with age

It isn’t just the release of the mercury that has trivialised the amalgam filling. With age, there is a high chance of expansion of the components of this mixture. That brings nothing but cracking of the tooth which will definitely require another recovery treatment.


This expansion is sometimes associated with secondary caries (you wouldn’t want that, we know).


Which one is the best?

The tooth filling is not a new practice. Since the past 15 decades, it has been recovering the smiles and the confidence of the people with holed teeth. However, since the various techniques do not come free, and they have their own pros and cons, you should choose your option wisely. That being said, from the above discussion, our vote is definitely to the composite filling because it is long lasting, aesthetic, has no toxic effects, and does not expand with age.

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