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Amalgam Fillings vs. Composite

Amalgam Fillings
Composite Fillings
Appearance
Silver
Tooth-Colored
Durability
Can withstand exceptional force
Fair resistance to normal biting forces
Cost
$89 on average (w/insurance)
$207 on average (w/insurance)
tooth with amalgam filling tooth with composite filling

Understanding Your Choices

You probably know you need a filling after decay is removed but not so much about the different materials available.

Both amalgam and composite fillings can be used to restore your tooth, protecting it from further damage and decay by closing spaces that are left behind after the tooth has been treated.

Composite fillings have become an effective and more aesthetic solution for restoring teeth. However, in some case, amalgam may be recommended to provide the necessary strength to withstand greater force.

The Greatest Difference Between These Materials Is Their Appearance

composite vs amalgam filling composite vs amalgam filling

The Defining Differences between Amalgam & Composite Fillings

Aesthetics

Amalgam fillings have a darker, silver color once applied to teeth, making them instantly noticeable. On the other hand, composite fillings are tooth-colored, allowing them to blend with the rest of the tooth.

Durability

While composite fillings can withstand the normal stresses of chewing, they are less resistant to excessive force. This is why amalgam fillings are typically recommended for patients who suffer from bruxism or temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder.

Alteration to the Natural Tooth Structure

To properly secure an amalgam filling, special alterations must be made to the tooth, removing more of the natural structure. Composite fillings can be bonded directly to the tooth.

Cost

Typically, composite fillings are slightly more expensive than amalgam fillings. Additionally, they may not be covered by insurance due to a difference in the cost of materials.

Durability & Replacement of Composite Fillings

According to the American Dental Association, studies have shown that composite fillings can be less durable in certain circumstances and may require more frequent replacement compared to amalgam fillings.

Both Amalgam & Composite Fillings Are Safe & Reliable Solutions

Restore the Shape of Your Tooth

Once the doctor removes the decayed portion of the tooth, an opening will be left behind. Placing a filling of any kind can restore proper shape and complete your tooth.

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Provide Strength & Protection

Without a filling, your tooth would be weaker structurally and substantially exposed to bacteria. A filling provides strength and protection to help prevent further breakage or infection.

Safe to Use

You may be under the impression that because amalgam fillings contain mercury that they are dangerous. However, that is not the case. You are exposed to more harmful amounts of mercury in the air and in your food.

Amalgam Is Safe

Many scientific organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association, agree that amalgam is a safe dental filling material.

Millions of Patients Successfully Repair Their Teeth with Fillings Each Year

10-year success rate of over 80% infographic

*According to the Journal of Conservative Dentistry

Over 100 million amalgam fillings are placed each year and composite fillings continue to grow in popularity. While there has been debate as to which has a higher survival rate, it has been found that both have a 10-year success rate of nearly 80 percent.

Considering the Pros & Cons

Pros

Composite Fillings Amalgam Fillings
Safe dental material that can replace the decayed portion of tooth X X
Protect both anterior and posterior teeth X X
Natural-looking results X
Withstand exceptional force caused by teeth grinding or TMJ disorder X

Cons

Composite Fillings Amalgam Fillings
Color of the material disrupts the aesthetics of your smile X
Eventually need to be replaced X X
Must substantially alter the tooth structure X
Greater cost X

Is A Filling My Only Choice?

Typically, the type of restoration recommended to fix your tooth will depend on the extent of decay.

If you have more extensive damage, you may need an inlay or onlay or a dental crown.

the stages of tooth decay

Choosing the Best Solution for Your Smile

While composite fillings have grown in popularity due to their more complimentary appearance, amalgam fillings have been trusted for decades. When making your decision, consider these factors:

Decision tree of amalgam vs composite filling

Your doctor can provide their recommendation based on your goals and needs during your consultation.

New Jersey Dental Centers logo

New Jersey Dental Centers

Dr. Mouner Amer and Dr. Khaled Eldin are top-rated doctors who want every patient to love their smile. They are members of trusted dental organizations, including:

  • American Dental Association
  • New Jersey Dental Association
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists
  • Academy of General Dentistry

Our dental care is affordable, but we offer flexible financing options to help you pay for treatment. To schedule a consultation at one of our seven locations, call our Old Bridge office at (732) 679-6666 or contact us online.

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