What is the difference? Amalgam vs. Tooth-Coloured Fillings
At Barker Dental Care, tooth-coloured or white fillings are the standard restoration for a tooth with decay where a filling is the most appropriate treatment. While metal or amalgam fillings used to be the standard treatment for filling cavities, it is no longer considered the best method and is prone to problems long-term. This is because the metal fillings are in no way attached to the tooth. The amalgam is simply packed into an undercut in the tooth structure so that it cannot fall out. It hangs onto the tooth much like a rock climber might wedge his or herself in-between two vertical rock faces by pushing against the two walls and digging fingers and toes into small crevices to hold on.
Because the metal filling is not actually attached to the natural tooth structure, it means that while the cusps of the teeth flex slightly when chewing, the metal filling material does not. This creates very tiny fractures that are difficult to see, and eventually the fractures become large enough for part of the tooth to break off. However, this outcome may be avoided by using tooth-coloured composite resin, which unlike amalgam, is bonded to the tooth. The result is that teeth are less prone to fracture. This advancement in modern dentistry and dental materials combined with the dramatic improvement in the aesthetics is why we choose to deliver tooth-colored fillings instead of metal fillings. Placing a tooth-coloured filling however is more technically demanding than placing amalgam fillings. Greater dental skill is required to recreate the missing tooth structure so that it blends in and looks like a natural tooth again. Our dentists at Barker Dental Care have undertaken courses in restorative and cosmetic techniques to enable them to deliver to our patients this type of high quality dental treatment.