- In the past, dentists used a silver-gray material known as an amalgam to repair dental cavities
- Dental amalgams are durable, but they required the process of undercutting to make them lock into the tooth properly
- Tooth-colored filings on the other hand, are made from a composite of different materials
- A lot of dentists now say that we are living in a post-amalgam era
In the past, whenever you got a tooth filling, your dentist had no other option but to use a silvery-gray metal material for the hole in your teeth. Today however, things have changed. You can now actually choose between having the standard silver dental amalgam and the nearly invisible tooth-colored filling that is made from composite resin depending on what you prefer.
Dental amalgams are very durable, and they are safe to use. They are however, visible, and they require a process called undercutting, to remove excess material from the teeth and to lock it properly into the tooth. Tooth-colored fillings on the other hand, are made from different materials such as resins, plastic, and silica fibers that can mimic the look and hardness of natural teeth. The filling can also easily attach directly to the surface of the teeth without the need for undercutting.
Since tooth-colored fillings readily attach to the tooth’s structure, the tooth can be preserved because there is no longer a need for undercutting. This can also help make the tooth stronger, and it makes tooth-colored fillings a more practical option when it comes to restoration. This is why a lot of dentists say that we now live in an era where amalgams are no longer needed.