What type of dental filling you need?
If you’ve been told you need a filling, you might be wondering what kind of material is the best for you. It all depends on your preferences. Do you want the subtle colour of a composite filling, or would you like to go for the tried and true amalgam filling?
Here’s a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of amalgam fillings and composite fillings. Read on and figure out the best tooth filling material for you. Since these are the most common types of fillings, it is likely that your dentist will be able to help you with the type of your choice.
Mercury / Amalgam filling
Most people are unaware that dental amalgam fillings contain 50% elemental mercury. In fact, there is currently a UN-backed movement that calls on dentists to phase out mercury amalgam, with an emphasis on the dentistry profession.
This backing comes in the form of a proposed Minimata Treaty. More than 140 nations agreed to phase out mercury. The Minimata Treaty also recommends that an important part of realizing a world free of mercury pollutants will involve training dentists in the use of alternative fillings.
However, the Australian Association of Dentists say that the mercury in amalgam fillings is perfectly fine, because the mercury is bound by the inter metallic compounds in the filling. The bounded mercury cannot cause any health issues for recipients (patients).
However, some holistic dentists and macrobiotic health advisors also claim that amalgam fillings can exacerbate the growths of certain bacteria in the body. These claims have not been proven completely by scientific researches so they are not reliable at present.
The main advantage of Amalgam is it’s longevity. Amalgam fillings may last 15 to 25 or even 30 years (it varies due to size and depth of the filling).
On the downside, Amalgams metallic appearance (silver /grey) may not be very pleasant for some people. On top of that they are not very conservative materials because we need minimal depth and a retentive cavity for a successful Amalgam filling.
This type of filling is barely noticeable in the mouth. Unlike the silver-grey of an Amalgam filling, a Composite filling is an off-white colour that mimics the natural hue of your teeth.
The most common types of Composite filling are resin composite and glass-ionomer. These types of fillings are the only ones available in countries including Switzerland, who have eschewed the traditional Amalgam filling for this new type for some 13 years.
On the downside, Composite tooth-coloured fillings are more difficult to place in your teeth because they are more technique sensitive. They are very sensitive to moisture and blood (unlike Amalgam), and they are contraindicated when dentists cannot achieve a very good isolation. They are also a little bit more expensive, and may not last as long as an Amalgam filling.
For all types of fillings and dental needs Pain Free Dental Clinic is here to help. We want to provide you with as much information as you need to help you make the right decisions for your dental care. Call us today on (02) 4868 1933.