Amalgam restorations are made with mercury and silver, which is why they are silver in color.
This type of dental filling has been used since the dawn of dentistry because of its strength and durability. It can easily last for 15 to 20 years and is quite economical as well.
Amalgam fillings are usually used on the posterior teeth.
An interesting thing about Amalgam fillings is that they are bulky and often require the dentist to prepare a cavity on the concerned tooth in order to apply the filling.
ADVANTAGES OF AMALGAM FILLINGS
The advantages of amalgam restorations are as follows:
They are very long-lasting. An amalgam filling can withstand wear and tear for up to 20 years
They have good strength, that is why amalgam fillings are used in the teeth which aid in chewing
They are cheaper
DISADVANTAGES OF AMALGAM FILLINGS
Amalgam restorations also have some drawbacks including:
The filling doesn’t match with the tooth color
A large space is needed to hold the dental filling so the sound structure of a tooth is also sometimes removed
Amalgam fillings can sometimes discolor the tooth
Because of a high degree of expansion and contraction seen in amalgam, the tooth can crack
Rarely, allergic reactions also occur in patients in response to the mercury present in amalgam
Composite fillings are not the strongest dental filling type but are hard enough to be used in the anterior teeth.
They are made up of quartz or silica particles added to a resin and they closely resemble the tooth color. After the cavity is prepared, a composite filling is applied in that area and is cured by an LED light. The dentist makes the color of the composite almost identical to the patient's tooth which makes both structures almost indistinguishable.
ADVANTAGES OF COMPOSITE FILLINGS
There are many advantages of composite fillings:
The color or shade of the restoration can be closely matched to that of the tooth
These types of fillings bond mechanically to the tooth structure, thus providing good support
Composite fillings can be used to repair worn or broken teeth
Less sound tooth structure needs to be removed to support a composite restoration
DISADVANTAGES OF COMPOSITE FILLINGS
Composite fillings have some flaws too:
They wear out more easily than amalgam or gold restorations
Composite fillings require a longer chairside time
If composites are being used for inlays or onlays, they require additional visits
They can chip off if excessive pressure is applied
They can cost more than amalgam fillings
Glass Ionomer Cement Fillings
Glass ionomer cement fillings are made by a combination of fluoroaluminosilicate glass and acrylic and are bonded to the teeth by a chemical reaction. No cavity preparation is required before applying GIC fillings.
However, they aren’t that long-lasting and usually work for up to 5 years or so.
ADVANTAGES OF GLASS IONOMER FILLINGS
The advantages of GIC fillings are:
They match the colour of the teeth
No cavity preparation is required before applying glass ionomer cement
They constantly strengthen the tooth by releasing fluoride
GIC bonds exceptionally well to the tooth
DISADVANTAGES OF GLASS IONOMER FILLINGS
GIC is a lot weaker than other fillings It is applied layer by layer so GIC fillings are time-consuming