Amalgam, Composite or Porcelain fillings? Not sure which one?

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Technology has seen dentistry grow by leaps & bounds. And dental fillings are one of the key areas where dentistry has grown drastically. Earlier when it came to fillings, amalgam fillings were the only way one could get cavities filled. Now with fillings like Composites and Porcelain entering the realm of dentistry realm, people have a choice to make.  How do you make this choice?
Let’s look at what these fillings are:
Amalgam:  Dental Amalgam as we know it is a filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decays. It’s a mixture of metals, consisting of mercury and a powdered alloy composite of silver, copper, and tin. An amalgam filling is also known as a ‘silver fillings’ due to nature and look of the filling. The dentist removes the decay from the tooth and prepares the cavity which is filled and compacted with amalgam.

However, there are certain disadvantages of amalgam:

  • It is conspicuous and doesn’t match with the natural tooth colour.
  • There is always a possibility of marginal leakage with amalgam restorations, which is why the incidence if secondary decay is high with respect to these fillings.
  • Some people are allergic to mercury or other components of the amalgam filling.

Composite:  Unlike amalgam, composite is available in various shades which match perfectly with the natural tooth colour and hence is more aesthetic. It has a more conservative edge to it than amalgam.

However, Composite too has some technical difficulties:

1)  Composite restorations are highly technique sensitive.

2)  The success of composite restorations is totally dependent on isolation of the teeth from saliva.
Porcelain:  Porcelain is used for restorations where a large portion of the tooth is missing/ compromised. It is usually used for inlays, onlays and crowns. An inlay is a restoration that is similar to conventional restorations but is fabricated in the dental laboratory. An onlay is a larger porcelain restoration which covers a larger portion of the tooth. A crown, on the other hand, covers the entire tooth surface above the gum line. Porcelain fillings contain no metal and require less tooth preparation and are functionally superior to metal fillings.

We at The Dental Spa are proud to be an ‘amalgam-free’ dental clinic and believe in aesthetic restorations.


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