Composite vs. Amalgam Fillings for Your Children

Parents, especially those who haven’t had a need for dental fillings in years, are surprised to discover that a lot – if not all – dental clinics only offer composite fillings. To understand why this switch was made, you must take a closer look at composite or metal-free fillings and amalgam fillings. Taking a closer look at these types of dental fillings will help you understand why most dental clinics have made the switch to metal-free dental fillings.   

The Health Concerns Surrounding Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for decades. It wasn’t until recently that people started to question the safety of these dental fillings.

People questioned the safety of amalgam fillings because of the materials that are used. Amalgam is made up of a mixture of metals that includes mercury. While the amalgam fillings at first appear safe, over time they do not. Over time as you eat and clench your teeth, the amalgam material slowly releases low levels of mercury. The mercury, which comes in a vapor form, is inhaled and absorbed by the body. If too much mercury is inhaled or absorbed by the body, serious health problems ranging from multiple sclerosis to heart disease, strokes and cancer may occur.

Composite fillings, which are made up of a combination of plastics and other non-metal materials, do not have this safety concern. In an effort to protect the health of their patients, dental clinics all across the country are phasing out amalgam fillings and only offer composite fillings.

Advantages of Choosing Non-Metal Dental Fillings like Composite Fillings

Being safer and healthier for your child is just one of the advantages that come with choosing composite dental fillings. There are a number of other advantages and benefits that come with these types of dental fillings.
Other advantages of composite dental fillings include:

  • Blending in with your natural teeth. Composite fillings can be created to match the color of your natural teeth. That means no one will know that you have fillings.
  • Making teeth stronger. Composite fillings bond directly to a tooth as opposed to filling the inside of the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger and less likely to fracture.
  • Not as much drilling is needed. Composite fillings only require a small amount of drilling.
  • No more sensitivity to hot and cold. Amalgam fillings are extremely sensitive to hot and cold. Composite fillings, while occasionally sensitive, are less prone to causing toothaches and pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold.
  • Durability. With proper care and regular professional cleanings, composite fillings can last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. Proper care includes brushing your teeth twice a day, eating a balanced diet, and flossing daily.
  • Faster dental appointments with fewer restrictions. Composite fillings can be placed in less than 10 minutes. This is great for parents because their children don’t have to sit through long, drawn-out dentist appointments.

Some Disadvantages of Composite Dental Fillings

There are many advantages that come with composite fillings, but there are also disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Price. Composite fillings often cost more than amalgam fillings and not all dental insurance companies cover them.
  • Need to be replaced. Some people feel that amalgam fillings were more durable as they sometimes lasted 20 or 30 years. Composite fillings typically last approximately 10 years.
  • Not ideal for larger fillings. Composite fillings can have difficulty bonding to a tooth when there is a large filling. When this happens, a tooth may need a crown to protect it as opposed to a simple filling.   

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida Wants to Keep Your Child Healthy

The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida takes your children’s dental, oral, and overall health seriously. That is why we only offer composite fillings. If you have any concerns or questions about composite fillings feel free to call our office to schedule an appointment. Our pediatric dentists will gladly answer any questions you may have about composite fillings. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and your child.