Dental fillings are meant to fill the holes left in your teeth by tooth decay. For decades the only filling material available was metal. There were gold fillings, which were the strongest and most expensive, or silver amalgam, a mixture of metals held together with mercury. Finally, composite resin, or tooth-colored fillings were invented. Since then, they’ve been the most commonly placed filling because they are white like your teeth. Here are three reasons for choosing tooth-colored fillings over metal.
Reason #1: Esthetics
Let’s face it, silver amalgam fillings may be affordable and strong, but they are ugly. Gold fillings are strong but noticeable too. If you don’t want people to know that you have fillings, choose composite resin. It is a naturally white material that can be tinted to blend with the unique color and shade of your teeth.
Reason #2: Strength
While metal fillings fill the hole left by decay, they leave a bit to be desired. When composite resin is placed into the cavity it fits against the walls of your tooth more securely. Once it is bonded and cured (hardened), it becomes as hard as your original tooth structure and actually strengthens your tooth. It also provides a more successful seal against invasive bacteria.
Reason #3: Biocompatibility
Biocompatibility means that it is safe to use in your mouth. Metal fillings contain mercury. The safety of mercury has been hotly debated for decades. Composite resin is a plastic resin material that does not contain any harmful substances, so its safety is not in question. In addition, temperature changes due to foods and beverages can cause metal fillings to expand and contract leaving your tooth at risk of cracking or fracturing, which is not a worry with dental composite.