Call us: (608) 365-9456

918 E. Park Ave Plaza Beloit, WI 53511 View Map

Composite Cavity Fillings

What materials are used to fill cavities?

The two most common materials used to fill cavities are composite (tooth-colored) resin and silver amalgam. There are pros and cons to both, but in my practice I fill all cavities with composite resin. I would never consider amalgam for my own mouth or for my family. Therefore, I cannot justify using it on my patients, despite the fact that it has lower material costs and higher profit margin.

The problem is that silver fillings contain large amounts of mercury, which is known to be a toxic element. Many of the most commonly used amalgams actually contain more mercury than silver, a fact that many old-school dentists tend to downplay.

If you are curious, look up “mercury toxicity” on the internet. You will never be able to read it all, but you will get the point right away.

How much do composite fillings cost versus amalgam fillings?

One drawback that some people will encounter with having composite fillings is that a few insurance companies will not pay the extra 20 percent for the cost of a composite on molars or premolars because they can use the “cheaper option” excuse to downgrade your benefit to the cost of an amalgam.

If you are covered by one of those companies, your 80 percent coverage will be more like 60 percent, but your fillings will contain fluoride instead of mercury. Plus, they look natural.

Is the quality of a composite filling comparable to that of an amalgam filling?

People often ask if a composite filling is as strong as amalgam, or which material will last longer. Either material can occasionally crack, but the far more likely way for a filling to require replacement is the occurrence of new decay next to the filling.

A properly placed composite resin can often last decades, as can amalgam. However, a poorly done composite resin will fail more quickly than a poorly done amalgam. Therefore, it is important to go to a dentist who does quality work.

If you have any questions or would like more information on composite (tooth-colored) resin or our cavity filling services, please contact us or request an appointment.