Unless you’re sensitive to mercury or other metals, your filling may be comprised of metal amalgam, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had your tooth restored. These days, however, we prefer to use acrylic composite resin to create tooth-colored dental fillings that look and perform better than more traditional metal amalgam ones.
The Difference Between Amalgam and Composite
Amalgam and composite both describe a combination of materials. Metal amalgam consists of trace amounts of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of silver, zinc, tin, and copper. As metal, amalgam fillings do not bond well to your tooth’s structure, and they may change shape in extreme hot and cold temperatures.
Composite resin is a mixture of acrylic and glass-like particles that’s applied to the tooth in liquid form, and then hardened with a curing light. Resin can bond to a tooth’s surface to create a tight seal against infectious bacteria, and is tinted to each patient’s specific tooth color.
What if You Have a Metal Filling?
If your previous metal filling’s appearance doesn’t bother you, and it’s still as effective as it was the day it was placed, then replacing the filling might not be necessary at the moment. Nevertheless, many patients seek to upgrade their fillings before their amalgam restorations have a chance to fail and compromise their teeth. After a thorough examination, we can advise you whether or not you should replace your old amalgam fillings.
Other Uses for Composite Resin
Composite resin’s ability to bond to and blend in with your natural teeth makes it a popular and effective cosmetic treatment, too. If a tooth is stained, chipped, or has cracked enamel (craze lines), or if there’s an odd space between two teeth, then we can apply resin to the tooth’s surface to improve its appearance. Cosmetic dental bonding can offer a conservative alternative to other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers or dental crowns, and can usually be completed in just one visit.
ABOUT YOUR GARLAND DENTIST:
Dr. Vi Mai and the caring staff at Mai Dentistry are dedicated to ensuring that our patients are proud of their beautiful, healthy smiles. With years of experience in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, we can expertly diagnose and treat early dental trouble to preserve your natural tooth structure. To learn more, or to schedule your next appointment, call us today at (972) 530-0552.