Understanding the differences between composite and amalgam dental fillings is important. If you have a cavity, chipped tooth or dental gap, Dr. Francine Kitagawa and our staff at Gateway Dental Care in Pleasanton, California can help you choose the treatment that is right for you. Each type of filling has many benefits, as well as shortcomings, and we will help you pick the one that best fits your oral health and cosmetic needs.
The Differences Between Amalgam & Composite Fillings
For decades amalgam fillings, made of copper, tin, mercury and silver, were the only option for patients who suffered from tooth decay. Modern materials and technology have made ceramic and resin composite fillings a popular solution for people with cavities and those who want to fill gaps or repair damaged teeth. The major cosmetic difference between the two are color. Amalgam fillings are silver while composites can match the various shades of your teeth. The ways in which each one can be used, and their durability also set them apart and give them each advantages and disadvantages, depending on your personal dental care needs.
The Benefits Of Choosing A Composite Filling
Patients at Gateway Dental Care often elect to use a composite filling for cosmetic and oral health reasons. If your goal is to match the aesthetics of your teeth or if you want to repair a broken or gapped tooth that is visible when you smile, a composite reconstruction is recommended. Additionally composite fillings bond to your teeth, adding to your bone density and strengthening them against routine wear. This type of cavity treatment also enables Dr. Francine Kitagawa and other dentists to spare more of a patient’s tooth structure than an amalgam filling does.
Drawbacks Of Resin Composite Fillings
Cost is one of the disadvantages of composite reconstructions. They can be up to twice as expensive than amalgam fillings, and some dental insurance plans do not cover them in full. Gateway Dental Care helps our Pleasanton-area patients by working with your insurance company to maximize your benefits, and we offer convenient payment options to assist you with anything that is not covered. Durability is another factor to consider when making your choice. Composite fillings do not last as long as amalgam does and chip more easily. Additionally, the curing time for composite fillings is longer – 20 minutes for treating cavities and multiple visits for inlays and onlays.
Why Some Dental Patients Choose Amalgam
Amalgam fillings are very affordable and most of the dental plans that Gateway Dental Care works with provide coverage for them. Another advantage is their strength and durability. Silver fillings typically last for 10 to 15 years, and in some cases up to 20 years. They are very strong and hold up against chipping, chewing and tooth grinding
Disadvantages Of Amalgam Fillings
Cosmetic problems with amalgam are the primary concern for our patients. Their metallic color makes them less aesthetically appealing, and silver fillings often cause gray discoloration of the rest of the tooth. Oral health disadvantages include an increased risk of cracked teeth and fractures with hot and cold beverages. And in many cases, dentists have to remove more of the tooth surface when setting the filling than they do with composite reconstruction.
Let Gateway Dental Care Help You Choose The Right Type Of Filling
Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Francine Kitagawa at our Pleasanton office, and she will help you to select the filling that best meets your personal needs. She will review your oral health history and discuss your cosmetic goals with you, and she will put together a customized treatment plan. Gateway Dental Care offers convenient daytime, late evening, and Saturday appointments, and we accept most major dental plans.
Call us or request an appointment online – let Gateway Dental Care guide you to the best solution for treating your cavities or cosmetic concerns. We have helped pediatric and adult patients from Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Pleasanton, and the Bay Area to feel healthy and confident about their smiles.