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Amalgam VS Composite Fillings

Here at Van Alstine Family Dentistry, we know that even minor fillings can make a big difference in your health and well-being. It is important to know exactly what you are getting into before your procedure so that you can have a discussion with us about what is best for your individual needs. At that time, we can also answer any questions that you may have about your fillings, our process, or the safety of the procedure.

What is a Dental Filling?

At times, you may experience some minor decay in one or more of your teeth. This decay is not severe enough to result in a root canal or a tooth extraction but must be taken care of immediately because it can get to that point if left unattended. To treat the minor decay, we use what is called a dental filling. Conducting this procedure means that we will drill slightly into your tooth to get to spot where the decay is. Then, we can clear the area out until only your healthy tooth remains. To fill in the gap the decay left behind, we use a filling. This filling can come in two varieties, amalgam fillings (metal) or composite fillings (also called “white” or “tooth-colored” fillings).

Amalgam Fillings

When we make metal fillings, we use mercury, copper, tin, and silver, so they are often called “silver” fillings. Though people over the years have expressed concerns over the safety of fillings containing mercury, there is a 150-year track record showing the safety of amalgam fillings. When combined with the other metals, its nature changes and is harmless to its owner. This option is easier to work with than the composite counterparts, so many dentists prefer its use over the other. These are also a stronger option. However, because they can be seen from the outside of the tooth, most of our patients prefer to only use them in the back where they cannot be as easily seen. Approximately 1 billion or more amalgam fillings are placed each year.

Composite Fillings

These are a nice alternative to amalgam fillings. They are tooth colored, so they are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of your natural teeth. This means that contrary to their metal counterparts, no one will see that you have them! These are resin-based, so they are strong as well, just not quite as much so. They are good for your teeth that are closer to the front, however, because they are not easily identifiable and your front teeth do not regularly sustain the same bite force as molars do. These are also a more expensive option and do not last as long as amalgam fillings do. Most last eight to ten years, but some can last over twenty. They are also slightly challenging in that they need to be laid in a tooth that is completely dry, which can be tough in the back of your mouth.

Van Alstine Family Dentistry wants you to look and feel your very best. It is best to treat minor cavities before they become detrimental to your oral health, so be sure to give us a call today to see what we can do to help you.
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Location: 1900 Packard Rd Ypsilanti, MI 48197-1866
Call: (734) 480-8818


Here are a few helpful hints to ensure you arrive safely:
•  When using GPS to find us be sure to enter Ypsilanti, there is a 1900 Packard not too far from us in Ann Arbor as well.
•  Turn onto Kewanee Rd off of Packard Rd. Then turn left into the parking lot below our building. You can park anywhere.
•  The entrance to the building is on the south side (facing Packard Rd) on the same level as the parking lot.
•  Once you enter, walk to the top of the stairs and turn right. We are the first office you come to with the big glass door. Please come in and let the receptionist know you are here.
•  If you are unable to use the stairs, please call us and we will be happy to help you access the ramp into the building.

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