By Dr. Kopel
Silver mercury fillings also known as dental amalgams have been in use since the 19th century. They are composed of a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. They are quickly becoming obsolete and not usually recommended to restore cavities any more. Instead, composite fillings are now used.
Composite fillings, first introduced in the 1960’s have undergone many generational improvements and are now both strong and cosmetic alternatives to silver mercury fillings.
They have the advantages of not containing mercury, are cosmetic and require less tooth reduction when removing cavities.
by Dr. Olga Karnakova
The practice of dentistry over the years has made many advancements in the conservation of tooth structure when performing restorations. Ideally, only the decayed tooth structure should be removed to keep the procedure as minimally invasive as possible. It is important to maintain as much of the original tooth structure in order to preserve its integrity, strength, and reduce postoperative sensitivity.
An example of choosing a minimally invasive restoration is to use a composite instead of an amalgam filling. Unlike a composite fillings, amalgam does not bind to the tooth structure. Amalgam fillings are composed of metals, and require the drilling of additional tooth structure in order to create enough surface area to hold the filling in place. Amalgam fillings that are too large can cause unnecessary stress on the tooth, and can lead to fractures or recurrent decay.