Choice of Filling

You have options… Lots actually

Teeth are different than skin or bones or other parts of the body in that they do not heal on their own. When dental work is necessary, a dentist strives to restore the tooth as close as humanly possible to its former status.

Options for fillings

Fillings are a common dental procedure and easy to understand. When you get a cavity, the dentist removes the decay and fills the hole with a “filling.” There are two basic choices dentist use to fill these smaller holes left by decay.

Amalgam fillings

For more than 100 years, amalgams were used by dentist worldwide as the “filling of choice” for repairing material composed of silver and mercury. But media attention has generated a growing concern (and controversy) among consumers about the health consequences of amalgam and a fear of mercury toxicity.

Research has not proven a link to any health benefits from removing amalgams from teeth, although it has been my experience that most people, when given a choice, do not want any new or additional amalgams put into their mouth.

Amalgam benefits

  • Less expensive
  • Presents fewer difficulties when getting insurance to cover the cost

Amalgam drawbacks

  • Dark and unattractive
  • Stain the natural tooth
  • Expand and, over a period of years, may cause natural teeth to crack
  • Contain mercury

Tooth-colored fillings

Until recently, we had no proven tooth-colored dental material that could fill a hole left behind by decay and withstand the chewing forces of the teeth.

Today that has changed. As a results of advances in dental materials and techniques, tooth-colored fillings have so much improved that many dentist no longer offer amalgam fillings. Our “filling of choice” is now the tooth-colored restoration.


Tooth-colored benefits

  • Look like a tooth
  • Help to strengthen the tooth
  • Do not stain teeth or gums
  • Seals the tooth
  • Does not expand or cause the tooth to fracture

Tooth-colored drawbacks

  • Take more time for both patient and doctor
  • Are more expensive
  • Often insurance will not pay the cost difference between an amalgam filling and tooth-colored filling.

Today’s technology also allows the dentist to show you pictures or X-rays of the damaged tooth. Having a clear understanding as to what is wrong and to what your options are is extremely important no matter the health concern. Ask to be involved. And certainly ask about your options.
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