What are dental amalgam and its alternatives?

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you may have had a cavity filled with dental amalgam, the silver-colored material that makes up traditional fillings. According to the FDA, dental amalgam is “a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper.” Although dental amalgam fillings are known for their longevity and cost-effectiveness, many people choose to have cavities filled with an alternative material due to concerns with its appearance or mercury content. One such alternative choice is a composite resin filling. Made primarily of plastic, these fillings can be colored to match the surrounding teeth, making them an attractive choice for many patients.

However, the FDA notes that composite resin fillings may need to be replaced faster than traditional dental amalgam. Before making a decision, it is important to get the opinion of a dentist on your discount dental plan. He or she can review the advantages of each type of filling and make a recommendation about the best one for your situation. Remember: Regardless of the filling material, it is important to get any cavities taken care of in order to protect the integrity of your teeth.

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