Cavities are a common problem during childhood. Yummy candy, late night snacking, and forgetting to brush are the ingredients to sugar bugs attacking and making holes in your child’s teeth. Since parents often ask us “Which type of filling is the best and safest option for my child?” we thought we’d give some pointers.
There are a few different options available to choose from when getting cavities filled, but the most commonly used fillings are amalgam (silver) fillings and composite (white) fillings.
Amalgam or Silver Fillings
Amalgam fillings are made with silver, elemental mercury, copper and tin and are the most common and often the cheapest fillings available. They only take one visit to place and are the easiest to apply since dental amalgam can be placed reliably even when moisture is present. They are also self-sealing and resistant to leaking.
One of the downsides to dental amalgam is that placing the amalgam filling requires some parts of the healthy tooth to be removed. The dental amalgam can also darken due to corrosion after time which doesn’t affect the function but doesn’t look as good. This is why most fillings containing amalgam are usually placed in the back of the mouth.
Another concern that people have with amalgam fillings is that they contain around 50% mercury. While the amount of mercury released into your child’s body from amalgam fillings is relatively small, it still can be a cause for concern.
At South Davis Pediatric Dentistry we prefer to use composite (white) fillings when fixing cavities. Composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastics, acrylic resin and glass. Unlike amalgam fillings, composite fillings do not corrode and do not contain harmful substances which could contribute to more serious health issues for your child.
Composite fillings are much better looking too; they can be colored and shaded to match the tooth almost perfectly. Another big bonus of composite fillings is that they do not require as much drilling and preserves as much of the original tooth as possible.
Despite all of the awesome advances in dental filling and oral health technology, the best kind of filling is no filling. Help your child prevent cavities and tooth decay by teaching them healthy brushing habits, encouraging them to maintain a healthy and low sugar diet, and also helping them learn the importance of regular dental checkups.