Today’s dental patients have a choice when it comes to repairing cavities. They can have traditional silver amalgam fillings that have been in use for more then 150 years, or the modern white composite material developed in the 1980’s, a newer and now proven technique that has many advantages. When setting up her practice, Dr. Tammy Tran decided she would use white composite fillings because of these advantages, an important one of which is that the composite material, made of a durable resin, lasts for years.
Many dental schools still emphasize silver amalgam fillings over white composite material, and so it’s not unusual for many dentists to feel uncomfortable placing composites on back teeth, a more difficult procedure than using the material on the front teeth. Dr. Tran is not one of these. She, prefers the modern white composite material. She knows they are the most comfortable of fillings and are very strong and long-lasting.
White Fillings Versus Amalgam Fillings
- White composite fillings restore most of the tooth’s original strength because they are bonded to the tooth.
- Patients with white fillings find that the composite fillings are less sensitive to hot and cold than are amalgam fillings.
- Less of the natural tooth has to be removed than with amalgam.
- White fillings are particularly well suited for repairing small cavities.
- They seal adjacent vulnerable parts of the tooth against recurrent decay.
- They look more natural, blending with the color of the surrounding teeth and so are more attractive.
- White fillings tend to cost more because they require more time and skill to place than amalgams.
- Because many dental schools don’t teach the placing of white fillings on back teeth, dentists often need additional training to properly apply them. When dentists don’t have that extra training, the fillings tend to have problems, such as premature failure or extreme sensitivity.
- All dentists are trained in dental school to place amalgam fillings.
- Amalgam fillings require less time to place, and as a result generally are less expensive than composite fillings.
- The mercury content in amalgam fillings makes them the subject to controversy regarding their safety.
- Over time amalgams will corrode, and turn dark, almost black.
- Amalgam fillings are subject to metal fatigue and corrosion, and over time the fillings can crack, or they can cause cracks in the teeth.
If you would like to have cavities repaired with white composite fillings, call Dr. Tran at 714-907-1557 or visit Dr. Tran’s Make an Appointment page.