Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid Mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin and copper that is used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients because it is extremely durable and is less expensive than other types of materials. However, since approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental Mercury by weight, some experts are concerned about the negative effects of Mercury exposure on patients’ health. Additionally, many patients desire restorations that are more natural in appearance.
For these reasons, composite resin fillings provide a good alternative to amalgam fillings. Composite resin fillings are often referred to as “natural colored” or “tooth colored” fillings because they are white and can be customized to match the color of surrounding teeth. This is a major advantage over amalgam fillings since they can be made to closely blend in with your natural teeth. Another advantage is the fact that they require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure for placement. Perhaps most importantly, composite resin fillings do not contain Mercury. The only negatives to composite resin fillings are the fact that they are not quite as durable as amalgam fillings and are more expensive.
Your dentist can help you decide on the best type of dental restoration to suit your specific needs. If you are in need of a dental filling and desire a restoration that is more natural and appearance and does not contain Mercury, schedule an appointment with your dentist today to find out if a composite resin filling is right for you.
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