A restoration or filling is used to replace decayed, missing or broken tooth structure. The most commonly placed material is a composite (tooth-colored) restoration. Our office does place amalgam (mercury) restorations on a limited case basis. Both types of restorations have advantages and disadvantages. Both restorations can result in hot/cold or pressure sensitivity that may last a few months.
Amalgam restorations have advantages and disadvantages. Dentists have been placing amalgams for over 150 years all around the world. The main advantage is the ability to place the restoration quickly and when the tooth is wet. They are also more cost effective than composite restorations mainly due to insurance coverage.
However, the edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split. Additionally amalgam restorations are a dark gray/black color which is not esthetically pleasing. Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury which can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. They are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger. Some composite restorations also contain fluoride. Composite restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
The result is a beautiful smile!