Amalgam or resin: Which is best for you?
Well, truth is, it depends.
It depends on your age, if you have a restoration already in place, your budget, the health of your teeth, and so on.
It also depends on your dentist, their assessment of your oral health, and their experience in placing both types of restorations.
In short, it’s complicated. And because of that, here’s a Q & A to help you figure out your best option.
Which one is safer?
Perhaps the biggest question when it comes to amalgam or resin is how safe they are. With amalgam it’s the metals used, and with resin it's the BPA.
The American Dental Association has information regarding the safety and efficacy of both solutions, so if this issue concerns you click the links above.
The internet is a wonderful research tool, but it shouldn’t be your only resource. Be sure to also speak with your physician before making a final decision.
Is there a preferred solution for certain types of teeth?
Resin is often the preferred solution for teeth within the smile zone because it lends a more aesthetic appearance to the restoration (a filling is a type of dental restoration).
However, improvements in resin technology have led to greater application of these materials in posterior (back) teeth, as long as a tooth can be properly isolated from moisture while conducting the restoration.
The tooth is also believed to more greatly benefit from resin’s flexibility than a rigid amalgam.
Is there a preferred solution for a certain type of cavity?
Yes. Smaller cavities are excellent candidates for resin restorations, while larger cavities are often filled with amalgam.
This is also true for cavities that involve a lesser area of the tooth, ones that don’t involve a large cusp area of the tooth.
As the development of new resin materials evolves, and as dentists practice greater artistry in their application, opinions are evolving as well.
Which is more expensive?
Amalgam is a more affordable alternative and is generally covered in-full by insurance carriers.
Depending on the type of insurance, resins are covered in-part or in-full.
Because amalgam is less expensive, it is often a preferred solution should a patient have financial constraints.
Which lasts longer?
Both possess excellent durability, but their success does rest upon many factors, including those related to materials, the dentist, and the patient.
Occasionally, fillings do fail. However, that’s often due to the formation of an additional cavity near a prior restoration, a fracture of the tooth, or general wear and tear.