Composite fillings are dental restoration materials that are made of synthetic resins. For cosmetic reasons, composite fillings have become a popular choice among dentists and patients for restoring teeth or closing gaps between teeth. Also known as “white fillings,” composite fillings are similar to natural teeth in both color and texture, and are, therefore, less noticeable than silver amalgam fillings.
What are the pros and cons of composite fillings? In addition to being more cosmetically appealing, are there other reasons why white fillings might be preferred over amalgam fillings?
There are several reasons why composite fillings might be the more suitable choice for tooth restoration. They come in a variety of colors and can be matched to your natural tooth color. Because they do more closely resemble the natural tooth than silver fillings, composite fillings will leave you with a more natural-looking smile. A natural-looking smile is more likely to be a confident smile.
Composite fillings can usually be placed during one dental visit. In today’s busy world, this means time saved traveling to and from the dentist’s office.
To place a silver amalgam filling, the dentist must create retentive features, destroying healthy tooth and making it more susceptible to breaking; hence why you hear more about fractures of teeth due to silver amalgam filling as opposed to composite fillings. However, composites are “glued” or “bonded” into teeth, thereby strengthening the tooth structure.
Amalgam fillings contain mercury and may be toxic. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are mercury-free.
Although composite fillings probably won’t last forever, they are made from materials that are durable enough to last for many years with proper placement and care.
Just as there are advantages to choosing composite fillings for tooth restorations, there are also some disadvantages. For instance, although composite fillings are normally placed successfully during one dental visit, they take about 50% longer to place than amalgam fillings. The materials used in composite fillings are also rather pricey. This adds to the cost of composite fillings, which tend to be more expensive than silver ones.
Another con of composite fillings is that their placement requires special expertise and must be precisely executed to be successful. Often, if a composite filling is not successful, it is due to placement error.