Fillings are used to repair teeth that are affected by decay, cracks, chips, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a filling material.
Amalgam (Silver Fillings) Vs. Composite (White Fillings):
Amalgam or silver fillings and white composite fillings, are the most widely used today. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Amalgam is generally approximately $50 cheaper than composite fillings, but both materials are usually covered by insurances. Research has shown that amalgam fillings have an average lifespan of 12.8 years, compared with the 7.8 years composite resin fillings last. Studies have shown that in those who have a higher risk of cavities, amalgams are more durable. However, with proper care and maintenance, both materials have been shown to last as long as 20 years. Composite fillings are moisture sensitive. Therefore, amalgam is recommended in certain situations where it proves impossible to isolate the area from moisture. White colored composites present a more esthetic option as they can easily blend with the natural tooth structure. Amalgam fillings are silver, but they tend to darken over time and can stain tooth structure, causing a darkened or blue hue of the tooth. Composite fillings, while white, can develop staining around the edges over time. Both materials have been proven to be safe and effective ways of restoring teeth.
Both amalgam and composite fillings, like all dental restorations, are not permanent and may someday need replacement.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside within a week or two after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. It is common to experience slight temperature sensitivity after amalgam fillings are placed as metal conducts thermal energy.
Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.