Silver amalgam fillings are out. Today’s pediatric dentists more often opt for the natural look of composite fillings when treating tiny patients.
What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Made of half mercury and the rest copper, silver, and tin, amalgam fillings are usually called “silver fillings.” Often used in back molars because of its durability and strength, these metal fillings are the most common type of repair material used in dentistry.
What Are Composite Fillings?
Made of a ceramics and plastic, composite fillings have been used to repair front teeth for decades. Now, thanks to tougher materials available, dentists are using them to fill back molars too.
What Makes Composite Fillings a Good Option for Kids?
Composite fillings don’t just look better (you can’t even tell what part of the tooth is natural and what part is filling), composites also offer these benefits:
- Long Lasting – With a typical lifespan of 8-10 years, most composites placed in baby teeth will last until those permanent teeth come in.
- Tooth Support – Composites bond to the tooth structure, which strengthens it, making it less likely that the fixed tooth will crack or break.
- Smaller Preparation – Composites allow the dentist to make much smaller preparation sites than traditional amalgam does. This means less drilling.
- Drill-Free Prep – Since cavity sites can be air or laser prepared using composite fillings, smaller cavities can be fixed with no shots or drilling at all! This makes dental visits less traumatic for both parent and child.
- Easy Repair – In the event a repair is needed in the future, composites allow the pediatric dentist to fix the problem without taking out the entire filling. This makes the job much easier on small patients.
- Natural Looking – Amalgam (silver) fillings simply don’t look as nice as composites do. Using the ceramic/plastic material of composites, the dentist can easily match the filling to the other tooth color, offering a seamless look. This is especially important when fixing front teeth.
- Sealing Options – Composite materials can also be used to fill pits and fissures in a child’s tooth, making it more difficult for cavities to form.
It is never fun when a child has to get a filling. By using composites, today’s pediatric dentist can make the entire process easier, with less drilling, without sacrificing quality, strength, or a great look.