There is a long lasting debate about which treatment is better, since both of these have their own advantages and disadvantages. Many people still believe that metal fillings are better or at least on par with the composites, but the world is still moving toward using only composite fillings.
Despite the presence of mercury, amalgam is actually very safe and long lasting. The structure of mercury in amalgam is altered in a manner that makes it harmless, but still won’t help for those allergic to it. Amalgam is also relatively inexpensive and easier for dentists to work with, which all results in it being almost as twice cheap a procedure than composite fillings.
However, composites are a much finer material and are better for filling tooth cavities. These are made of acrylic plastics, porcelain and sometimes quartz, making them structurally similar to glass, but actually much thicker. While amalgam fillings are still longer lasting than composites, thickness and consistency of a white filling is better for teeth – not just because it fills cavities better, but there’s also the fact that it doesn’t naturally expand like metal does, so unlike the amalgam alloy, can’t lead to tooth crumbling or fracture over time.
White fillings also bond better to the tooth enamel. So, despite the fact they don’t last as long and are a bit more expensive than amalgam, white fillings will have a better long-term effect on the healthy state of a tooth.
The last, but not the least issue regarding amalgam is looks. It’s a piece of metal, and obviously looks like metal when it’s in your tooth. The colour of composite is a shade of light beige, very similar to the natural colour of tooth enamel. The front teeth are a major concern. Amalgams in these will always be visible despite being smaller and oriented towards the inside. A portion of alloy will remain visible in most cases. This makes white, composite fillings by far the best option for the front teeth. Most cosmetic dentists will opt for this treatment, as it looks far better than mental fillings.
Composite materials are often associated with chipping off, long treatment durations, short lifespan and relatively high price, but continuous white filling material research and development lead to the resolution of all these issues. White fillings were initially only a solution for those who prioritize the look of their teeth to health and comfort, but are now in many things more advanced than amalgam. In the future, these advantages will only become greater.