Only a few short years ago, silver amalgam fillings were the order of the day. Most of us still sport one or two of these durable but unsightly restorations. Tooth-colored filling materials called composite resins have changed that.
Amalgams, commonly known as silver or mercury fillings, are actually an amalgamation of silver, mercury, copper, and tin. They require the removal of healthy tooth in addition to damaged tooth. For many patients, the greatest disadvantage of silver-colored amalgam fillings has been that they do not match tooth color.
White composite resins offer superior cosmetic aesthetics compared to amalgam with natural shades to match your own teeth. Also, composites never discolor neighboring teeth as amalgam sometimes does.
These plastic mixtures filled with glass or silica and resin ionomers with fluoride-releasing properties are both tough and efficient. Composites bond to your tooth to support and strengthen the remaining tooth structure. This helps to prevent breakage and insulates teeth from excessive temperature changes. Invisible cosmetic touch-ups of cracked or chipped teeth are also made easily. Resin ionomers are particularly suitable for children because they release fluoride, and for older adults because their sealing and fluoride properties reduce root decay.