You may have been given metal amalgam fillings as a child or more recently. Such fillings do an excellent job of restoring a tooth that has suffered from decay, but nowadays composite resin fillings are also available, which are made of tooth-coloured plastic and glass. Should you opt for a composite filling, or even replace your amalgam fillings?
The main advantage of composite fillings is that they are more attractive. As the filling is the same colour as your existing teeth, it can be almost invisible inside your mouth, even if used on your front teeth, so you can be confident about flashing your smile.
Composite fillings also bond chemically directly to your tooth structure, so the filling is stronger than a traditional amalgam filling.
And a composite filling may not need so much of the tooth structure to be removed before the filling. An amalgam filling may need a larger space to fit in, meaning that more healthy parts of the tooth will need to be removed.
Firstly, composite fillings are usually more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings. You may have a more natural-looking smile, but it will come at a greater financial cost—and your insurance may not cover this extra expense.
Secondly, a composite filling may take longer. Not only might the filling itself take longer, as the composite has to be built up in layers, but you may need extra visits if the material is being used as an inlay on your teeth rather than just to fill a cavity.
And a composite filling may not be the most durable option. Amalgam fillings can last for ten to fifteen years; a composite resin filling may only last for five—and, of course, that means more visits to the dentist and more expense.
Should you replace a filling?
Although a filling can be removed and replaced for aesthetic reasons, it might make sense to hang on until the filling needs replacing anyway. Amalgam fillings do not last forever and may come loose, or they may need to be replaced for reasons of oral health (for example, decay can occur underneath a filling). This is the ideal time to consider if you want to replace your amalgam fillings with a more natural-looking composite filling. However, the decision is yours, and you should contact your dentist for additional advice if you are thinking of going down this route.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.