Amalgam vs. Porcelain Fillings

Do You Know the Differences?

Let's face it: cavities happen. While many of us do our best to prevent it, brushing and flossing away each day, decay can sometimes do its damage and eventually require a filling to treat. Patients who need to have a cavity filled typically get to choose between traditional (amalgam) fillings, and porcelain (composite) fillings. In order to make the best decision for you and your tooth, it's a good idea to get informed about the pros and cons of each filling type.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam (silver) fillings are made up of a mixture of silver, mercury, tin and copper. Mercury makes up roughly 50 percent of the mix and binds all of the components together to produce a durable filling. Some people believe the mercury in these fillings to be highly toxic, but multiple studies prove that amalgam is safe, and any exposure is similar to what people get from environmental sources. Silver fillings are typically used to treat back teeth or cavities below the gum line. Amalgam fillings usually last for 10 to 15 years before requiring retreatment.

Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain (composite) fillings are composed of a plastic resin and glass particle mixture. They seamlessly blend with the colour of a natural tooth, making them especially ideal for restoring visible teeth in the front. Many patients prefer this type of filling because of their virtually undetectable appearance. The substance bonds chemically to the tooth structure, enhancing its strength in the cavity. Porcelain fillings usually last around 5 to 8 years.

Your Dentist is There to Help

Having a chat with your dentist will help you decide on the type of cavity filling most suitable for you, if you happen to require a filling in the future. Factors such as the location/ size of the cavity, concerns with appearance, the patient's budget and patient history should all be considered in order to make the right choice. In the meantime, continue to fight that decay by brushing twice a day and flossing daily!

Etobicoke Dental Health Centre is always happy to help you with your dental needs. Schedule an appointment with us today. New patients are always welcome!


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