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Dental Amalgam

Dental Amalgam is a commonly used dental filling that has been used for over 150 years. It is a mixture of mercury with at least one other metal. Amalgam has many advantages over other restorative material, such as low cost, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effects.

Amalgam is used in dentistry for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use and manipulate during placement; it remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any irregular volume, and then forms a hard compound. Amalgam possesses greater longevity than other direct restorative materials, such as composite. On average, most amalgam restorations serve for 10 to 12 years, whereas resin-based composites serve for about half that time. However, with recent improvements in composite material science and a better understanding of the technique-sensitivity of placement, it should be noted that this difference is decreasing.

There are circumstances in which composite (tooth color fillings) serves better than amalgam; when amalgam is not indicated, or when a more conservative preparation would be beneficial, composite is the recommended restorative material. These situations would include small occlusal restorations, in which amalgam would require the removal of a sounder tooth structure, as well as in “enamel sites beyond the height of contour”.

The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.

Dental Composite Filling (tooth colored)

Dental composites are also called tooth color fillings. Composite fillings are white, tooth colored fillings that are used to repair both small and large cavities. They can also be used in the event of a chipped tooth to fill in the missing area. Since these fillings are easily camouflaged on teeth, they are often preferred by patients. Most dentists now use this type of filling on a daily basis.

White fillings are made of a resin material that actually bonds to the tooth when applied. They are completely non-toxic to the body and withstand strong chewing pressure. The unique bonding application makes a tooth less likely to crack over time. The average composite filling will last 7-10 years, but many will last much longer.





Advantages of Composite (tooth-colored) Restorations

There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger. Less tooth structure is removed when preparing the tooth for a composite filling. This reduces the chance of irritating the nerve when repairing deeper cavities. Once the tooth has been cleaned and prepared, a bonding material is placed at the base of the preparation site. The resin material is then placed in layers, and a special light is used to harden each layer. This process takes a bit more time than other filling materials.

White fillings tend to have fewer sensitivity issues after placement, as compared to metal ones. While some composite fillings can be initially sensitive to hot and cold, this will diminish over a short period of time. Sometimes, the filling may be high, which causes a sharp pain when chewing. If this is the case, a quick trip to the dentist for a bite adjustment will fix the problem.

People with a lot of silver fillings may also request that they be replaced with composite ones. This will dramatically change the patient’s smile, giving them more confidence. A consultation with the dentist can determine whether or not your fillings can be easily replaced.

Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums! The result is a beautiful smile!







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"My promise to you is that our office will treat you to some of the gentlest dental care available in Western New York. We provide this by utilizing the highest diagnostic skills, state-of-the-art dental equipment, treatment planning and procedures all integrated by our highly trained staff. Our team constantly updates its technical skills and strives for perfection in every procedure it undertakes. You have my word that the Hyde dental staff will listen to your concerns and desires and they will come first in any treatment plan we develop." - Dr. Joseph A. Hyde