Composites vs Amalgam Dental Fillings

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of dental care possible for patients, which is why we prefer filling cavities with white composite material only, as opposed to mercury-containing amalgam fillings. The average amalgam is 50% mercury bonded to 30% silver and a bit of copper, tin, and zinc.

Composites do not contain any mercury or other types of metal. Instead, they are made of a combination of a tough polymer with inclusions of ceramic particles for additional strength. They begin as a soft putty that can be spread into the prepared tooth, then hardened with a curing light. Tooth preparation is more comfortable now than ever with Anutra buffered anesthesia.

Another option for tooth-colored dental fillings in Columbus, OH is porcelain fillings made with our CEREC system. See White Fillings for more information.

handsome man shows off her natural looking smile with tooth-colored fillings

Problems with Metal Amalgam Fillings

Metal amalgam dental fillings are unattractive. They begin silver, but quickly turn black with rust, giving an appearance that’s as bad as untreated tooth decay.

But metal amalgam fillings also have functional problems. They expand and contract with temperature changes at a very different rate than your natural tooth enamel. This means that when you drink cold beverages, the amalgam shrinks a little more than the tooth it’s sitting in, allowing liquid to penetrate around the filling. This liquid can contain both oral bacteria and food for that bacteria, leading to more tooth damage. With exposure to elevated temperatures, metal amalgam fillings expand faster than the enamel and can cause small cracks to appear.

Another concern about metal amalgam fillings is their mercury content. Although the FDA and American Dental Association (ADA) claim metal amalgam dental fillings are safe, we know that mercury is potentially very harmful. We know that mercury doesn’t stay in the fillings and concentrates in the body.

Advantages of White Fillings

Many dentists use composite fillings because they can be directly applied during an initial visit. Dr. Firouzian takes your overall smile into consideration will help you determine the best material for your smile. You may want a quick fix, or you may prefer the look and function of porcelain. Ceramic porcelain has many advantages over both amalgam and composite fillings, including:

  • Translucent quality
  • Strength
  • Non-porous material
  • Permanence

With our CEREC system, you can also get ceramic fillings in a single visit.

Mercury amalgam fillings, especially if you have more than one, can seriously detract from your smile. Their silver color does not blend well with your natural teeth. Composite fillings, on the other hand, lack the shiny luster of porcelain but are still much more attractive than metal. Composite fillings are also porous and may dim over time, while porcelain is smooth and stays strong.

Our restorative goal is to return your teeth as close as possible to their original appearance, function, strength, and longevity. In general, we recommend composite fillings for small cavities. For fillings larger than a third of the biting surface, and fillings that involve the points (cusps) of the tooth, we recommend porcelain fillings. Often, the size of the filling–and whether we have to resort to a dental crown to protect your tooth–may have to be determined at the time we prepare the tooth.

White Fillings and Smile Makeovers

If you are looking to brighten your smile, replacing your old amalgam or even your old composite fillings with white fillings may be part of a full-mouth restoration plan you create with the help of cosmetic dentist Dr. Firouzian. Even teeth that do not require full restoration can be improved with porcelain veneers to ensure that all the teeth in your smile line complement each other. Not only do white fillings and veneers look great, but they also last longer and are tougher than traditional tooth restoration options.

Get Tooth-Colored Fillings in Columbus, OH

To find out more about white fillings in Columbus, OH, and how they can help improve your smile, call us at (614) 848-5001 or contact our Columbus, Ohio office to schedule your initial consultation.