Why Amalgam Fillings Should Be Replaced With Resin Composite Fillings?

Why Amalgam Fillings Should Be Replaced With Resin Composite Fillings?

Amalgam fillings – those silver fillings you can see when you smile – are a mixture of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and zinc used to fill cavities in teeth with a lifetime of about 10 years. At one point amalgam fillings were the only option available if you needed a filling. However, the use of dental amalgam has been declining over the years with materials such as resin-based composite becoming more widely used.

So why should you replace your amalgam fillings with resin composite fillings? 


1. Reduce allergic reactions.

Since amalgam fillings contain heavy metals, some people may have an allergy or sensitivity to the components (i.e. mercury, zinc, copper, tin, silver) of an amalgam filling. Signs of an allergic reaction will typically include mouth ulcers, skin rash, and itching. Replacing amalgam filling with resin composite one can help mitigate the risk of an allergic reaction. 

2. Reduce exposure to mercury. 

Amalgam fillings are made of 50% mercury by weight. Although the levels are deemed safe, certain people are more susceptible to the effects of mercury. These at-risk people include women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers, people with mercury allergy, or people with a neurological impairment or kidney dysfunction. If you are in the at-risk group, changing amalgam fillings to resin composite ones can be a good idea. 

3. Improve aesthetics.

When you smile or laugh, the amalgam fillings are noticeable and stand out against naturally white teeth. This can make some people self-conscious about their smile. Since resin composite fillings are tooth colored, they are virtually invisible. Thus, switching to resin composite fillings can help make your smile more uniform and not call attention to the areas where you received treatment.

4. Strengthen your teeth.

An amalgam filling is packed into your tooth, much like a pothole, and doesn’t bond to the tooth. A composite filling, on the other hand, bonds to the tooth, making it stronger and less likely to leak. A leaky filling is not visible but can cause bacteria to enter your tooth and cause decay. This eventually may require a more invasive and expensive procedure like a crown placement, instead of a filling. Thus, changing your amalgam fillings to resin composite ones can help prevent tooth erosion and make your teeth stronger and more resistant to leakage.

5. Improve the health of your teeth.

Amalgam fillings are known to cause microfractures in teeth over time. That is because when your tooth is given to force, the amalgam is not, leading to an uneven distribution of force that can cause fractures and cracks in your natural tooth. In addition, amalgam fillings are made of 50% mercury, which expands and contracts with temperature changes. So when you eat something hot, the filling will expand and put extra strain on your tooth. When you eat something cold, like ice cream, the amalgam filling will contract and create gaps around the filling where bacteria can enter. Thus, replacing your amalgam fillings with resin composite fillings can improve the overall health of your teeth.

Also, reaِd / 10 Common Dental Myths Debunked

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