If you need a dental filling in one of your back teeth, then you have some choices available to you. Two of the most common filling materials are composite resin and amalgam. While composite fillings are regularly used in the front of the mouth or in any area that is likely to be noticed by an observer, amalgam fillings can, and are often are, chosen for the back teeth. The fillings may not necessarily look pretty, but there are quite a few benefits to choosing them over composite ones for the premolars and molars.
They Last Longer
If you do not want to go back to your dentist to have your filling replaced, then it is wise to ask for an amalgam filling. Composite fillings only last an average of 7 to 10 years. Amalgam fillings last much longer than this. The lasting power of the metal fillings can be found in the way the metal adheres to the dental enamel. It bonds with your tooth as it hardens. Also, the metal is slightly flexible or moveable once it cures. This is very different than the hard composite material. In this way, the amalgam will not crack or scratch. This means that more excessive bite forces can be applied to the amalgam without the filling being damaged. This is ideal, especially for the back molars.
Not only can the amalgam fillings last longer, but they retain more strength when they are formed in a large area of the tooth. In other words, larger fillings can be created without having to worry about compromising the structural integrity of the tooth.
They Take Less Time To Place
Amalgam dental fillings also take less time to secure in the teeth. If you have dental anxieties, are generally in a rush, or if you simply do not want to spend much time in the dental chair, then amalgam fillings are a good choice. When composite fillings are added, the teeth must be completely clean and dry. The tooth also needs to be acid etched beforehand, and several layers of the resin need to be added and then cured. All of these steps can take a considerable amount of time.
When the amalgam filling is added, the tooth is cleaned and dried. A small metal bracket is placed around the tooth and the amalgam material is added. The material is then left to cure.
Since the preparation and application is quicker, amalgam fillings are typically cheaper. The metal material itself is also less expensive than the resin. This means that you will notice a smaller dental bill as well.