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What Is the Difference Between a Silver Amalgam Filling and a Composite Filling?

May 14

Cavities. They happen, and with the expertise of a Rockhill, SC dentist, there's usually no need to be concerned. Restorative dentistry includes the treatment of cavities. You can select between a silver amalgam and a composite filling when you have a cavity. However, there are times when you should and/or may choose one choice over the other.


You can expect your dentist to remove the decay and place the filling in both circumstances. However, there are other distinctions between your filling options, and here is more information about those distinctions so that you may stay educated and actively grasp what is going on in your mouth.


The Fundamentals

Composite fillings are created from a composite resin material, whereas amalgam fillings are made from silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Both treatments safeguard the teeth following a cavity, but they have significant advantages and disadvantages. The following are the main distinctions between the various types of fillings: look, longevity, stability, preparation, and process.



It's easy to detect the change in look. Silver amalgam fillings, as the name implies, are made up of numerous metals and have a silver look, which makes them more noticeable when speaking or smiling. Fillings made of composite resin, on the other hand, are tooth-colored. Dentists can match the color of the composite resin to the color of the patient's natural teeth.



Silver amalgam fillings are incredibly durable and often last for 10-15 years because they are constructed of metals. Because composite resin is not as robust as metal by nature, the fillings have a shorter lifespan. However, both types of fillings are affected by how they are cared for and where they are placed.



Silver amalgam fillings often survive longer than composite resin fillings, as we've already established. One thing to keep in mind is that when silver fillings are exposed to hot and cold conditions, they expand and contract. Teeth have the potential to crack as a result of this growth. Furthermore, it's crucial to be mindful that when the filler compresses, food can slip underneath the substance and cause further degradation. Composite resin fillings, on the other hand, do not vary in size.



A dentist would often use a dental drill to remove the underlying decay before inserting a filling. In order to place the filling, a dentist must also remove some of the healthy tooth structures; the amount of tooth structure removed varies on the filling material chosen. Because silver fillings do not adhere to the tooth, dentists must remove a significant amount of healthy tooth material in order to insert them. Composite fillings, on the other hand, adhere to the tooth, allowing a less pieces of the tooth's structure to be removed, preserving the tooth's natural strength.



The process of placing a silver filling is shorter than that of a composite resin filling. The tooth is numbed, the decay is removed, and then the amalgam is placed in the cavity and shaped. Once the filling has been inserted, it hardens on its own. In contrast, the process of placing a composite resin filling is a little more involved. The tooth is numbed, the decay is removed, and then a bonding agent is placed on the tooth. Next, the composite resin is placed in the cavity and shaped. Once the filling has been inserted, it is hardened with a special light.


The Decision

The final decision comes down to you and your dentist. Some factors to consider include your preferences, the health of your teeth, and treatment costs. Ultimately, it is best to discuss these different options with your dentist in order to determine which type of filling is right for you. Whether you choose a silver amalgam or composite resin filling, be sure to practice good oral hygiene and attend regular check-ups to help ensure the longevity of your treatment.​


At River District Smiles Dentistry, our team of dentists specializes in a range of dental treatments, including both silver amalgam and composite resin fillings. We understand that every patient has unique needs, and we work with you to find the best treatment option for your specific situation. Whether you are considering silver amalgam or composite resin fillings, our team can help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that you can be proud of.