If your cavities are being filled during your next dental appointment, you need to consider your options. Among the choices are the traditional metal amalgam fillings and their modern porcelain counterparts. Getting up to speed on these 2 types of fillings will make it easier to choose one that’s suitable for your case.
This type of filling has been around for quite long, and is easily distinguishable thanks to its silvery color. Amalgam fillings are made using a mixture of metals. Most of them typically contain zinc, copper, tin and about 50% mercury. While the fillings are among the more affordable and long-lasting options, they’re marred by a handful of drawbacks.
Also known as ceramic fillings, these are the most widely used today. They are made by filling a methacrylate matrix with tiny porcelain particles, with the latter accounting for 80% of each filling’s content. The material used to cover the cavity is usually formed in a special lab.
Amalgam Fillings vs Porcelain Fillings
Because most insurers don’t fully cover the cost of ceramic fillings, they tend to be pricier than their amalgam counterparts. But as earlier mentioned, the latter option has quite a number of setbacks. The more notable of these include:
-Amalgam fillings are highly prone to temperature fluctuations. The filling weakens the tooth’s structure as it expands and contracts, and this could potentially cause it to crack.
-As time goes by, the silver color starts to darken. This diminishes the aesthetic appeal of one’s smile.
-While the level of mercury in amalgam fillings is certified as safe for people over the age of 6, it’s still a cause for concern.
Not only are ceramic fillings a good mercury-free alternative, but they also offer other benefits as well:
-Since ceramic fillings are made based on a scan of the patient’s teeth, they can be shaped to cover the cavities perfectly.
-Each filling is obtained from a homogeneous ceramic cube. As such, porcelain fillings maintain their size and shape, temperature changes notwithstanding.
-The insertion of ceramic fillings only requires a small space. This translates to less drilling, which in turn means patients are able to keep more of the healthy part(s) of their teeth.
-Porcelain fillings are less prone to discoloration. This, combined with the fact that they can be matched to the natural color of one’s teeth, adds up to a more aesthetically-pleasing result.
You can now see why ceramic fillings are the best option for your teeth. In recent times, manufacturers have developed superior composite materials for the construction of porcelain fillings. You can thus find quality ceramic fillings that are much more resilient when compared to their metal predecessors.