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April 29, 2013

A filling is the repair of the decayed boundaries of a healthy tooth and replaces space where decay was present.  The most common types of fillings are:  silver amalgam, composite, gold and fused porcelain.  Amalgam is a silver material composed of a mixture containing liquid mercury and silver-tin alloy powder.  Amalgam fillings are self-sealing and durable but may cause an allergic reaction for some individuals due to its metal components.  They also require the removal of healthy tooth structure in order for the amalgam material to be able to adhere to the tooth.  Overall, amalgam has a poor esthetic since it becomes darker over time and can stain the tooth.  Amalgam fillings require undercuts within the cavity preparation in order to avoid dislodging therefore making the area larger than necessary.  The minimum depth of an amalgam filling is a millimeter and a half and must be at least this depth to avoid cracking.

Composite resin is a material composed of microscopic glass and porcelain particles embedded in acrylic matrix which are hardened by exposure to blue light.  The blue light causes the acrylic fluid to harden once the dentist has had time to shape the filling.  Composite fillings not only look natural and indistinguishable from the natural tooth but are stronger and provide better results especially when placed on large biting surfaces.

Overall composite fillings are the best restoration for conserving tooth structure and maintaining an appealing esthetic.  There is a remarkable difference between a mouth full of amalgam fillings and one with composite fillings as seen in the picture.  Many patients get amalgam fillings and later want to replace them with composite fillings but this becomes more expensive and intrusive.  There is a high risk when constantly replacing fillings because the nerve of the tooth can get damaged resulting in a root canal or extraction.  The best thing to do is to discuss with our doctor at 7 Day Dental which option would be best and which would allow the best possible restoration with minimal destruction of the natural tooth.

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