This information is provided to help you make decisions about the choices of restorative materials in your mouth. Although not all materials are designed for all situations, please do not hesitate to make your preference known to us. We will be happy to advise you concerning how appropriate your choice might be for your situation.
Used in dentistry for over 160 years, this material is an alloy of silver, tin, copper, zinc, and a small amount of mercury. Average longevity is about 15 years and it is best used in small to medium sized restorations in the back of the mouth. Amalgam use has been criticized for causing all manner of medical problems with no scientific proof to verify these claims. Some very small percentage of the population may be allergic to the metal itself. Amalgam use is still strongly supported by the American Dental Association. We very seldom use amalgam because of the superiority of composite resorations at this time.
These are tooth colored restorations that have traditionally been used solely in the front of the mouth. Improvements in the last few years have increased their strength and now these fillings are considered acceptable for small to medium sized back fillings as well. They are generally less sensitive than metal restorations and have the advantage of being bonded to the tooth rather than relying on grooves and slots to hold them to the tooth.
Crowns are extremely strong and durable restorations that completely replace the anatomy and function of a badly broken down tooth. These are ideal on teeth that have been restored multiple times in the past and have weakened over time. Average longevity is considered 20 years to life assuming proper care is taken to keep the teeth generally healthy. These can be constructed of many materials (gold, porcelain) although the price rise in gold in the last few years makes full gold crowns extreamly expensive and therefore seldom used.