Fillings are one of the many restorative options available for your teeth. Depending on your oral status and if decay is present, your dentist might recommend a filling as a restorative option. There are a few fillings we place here in the office called; composite and amalgam/ or alloy fillings.
Amalgam fillings are silver in color, are usually placed in the posterior teeth. Amalgam fillings are very durable and can with stand the intense pressure of chewing and grinding. However, amalgam fillings are a conductor of hot and cold temperature changes in the mouth from eating and drinking and can cause the filling to expand/contract and over time your teeth might form cracks around the existing filling. This may lead to being replaced over time. Cracks or open margins around the fillings can cause bacteria to get under the filling and create decay into the tooth, which is why check up x-rays and cleanings are so important! Your dentist can keep watch of your fillings and catch cracks or decay early before they cause a real issue like a root canal or crown.
Composite fillings are white in color and can be placed on any tooth in the mouth. With the composite fillings they blend into your teeth and are very esthetically pleasing. Composite fillings also can help prevent cracks from spreading due to the bonding agents used to place the filling. However, placing a composite filling is very technique sensitive and need to have a dry tooth in order to have the filling placed, therefore the dentist might not recommend them on the second or third molars. Composite fillings have less sensitivity issues and tend to be more comfortable after restorations are complete.
If you are recommended to have a filling placed and want to know more about the difference, please talk to your dentist about your options!
Patty, Dental Assistant