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Kendre Kamm

June 16, 2018

Amalgam vs Composite

For scenario one with my patient needing a restoration for a class one carious lesion on

tooth #4 I would discuss first the difference between the two materials used for restoring carious

lesions and my opinion for the best option for this filling.

Amalgam fillings have been around for a very long time and were one of the first

materials introduced to the dental field following the use of gold to restore teeth. Amalgam

appears shiny and silver in color. Most often amalgam is used for restorations on the posterior

portion of the mouth due to its color difference and that easily stands out. This material is a good

choice if the area needed to restore is an area used for chewing because amalgam is a very strong

material composed of zinc, copper, tin, silver, and mercury. Other benefits for using amalgam is

the duration of stability lasting up to 10 years if properly cared for, the expenses of amalgam are

cheaper than those for composites or other restorative material, and can often be completed

during one dental visit. Disadvantages to using amalgam would be the appearance of the filling,

amalgam fillings can tarnish over the years due to the environment, more of the tooth structure is

removed for the placement of the material because it is held in by retention versus a bonding

agent like composites, and also amalgam restorations have the potential to change in shape over

time from contraction or expansion of the metals.

Composites are another material often used in dentistry for restorations. Composites are a

mixture of plastic and fine glass particles and can be used anywhere in the mouth for any type of

restorative work. Unlike amalgam, composite material matches the appearance of the
surrounding teeth displaying the natural color of a tooth. Other benefits for choosing composite

are how easily and nicely it bonds to the teeth making it durable and can be placed and

completed during one dental visit. Although the use of composite restorations are very popular

because of the appearance, there are a few disadvantages that come with it including the cost is

more expensive than amalgam, the duration of stability can be significantly less than amalgam

and just like our own teeth, composite material can also become stained over time from coffee,

tea, or tobacco products unlike the amalgam.

For this specific situation, the use of the composite material would be a great choice

because of the size of the filling needed is small enough that not much of the tooth structure

would need to be removed allowing it to be easily bonded to the tooth structure. Also with it

being a premolar, often times that area of the mouth is seen when a person smiles therefor a

composite restoration is my recommendation because the filling would blend in with the

surrounding teeth allowing a natural looking smile.

For scenario two my patient has come into the office with a chief complaint being that his

front tooth #9 is starting to look gray and dull in color. With this being said it is obvious that the

restoration material used is composite and the filling needs to be replaced. Considering the

location of the filling is a central anterior tooth, a composite restoration is recommended.

Leaking restorations can be caused by a handful of reasons including trauma, home care,

placement and normal wear and tear that the oral cavity undergoes. Leaky restorations can be

easily fixed and completed in one visit. If the filling was an older restoration the material used

may not be as strong as the newer material that is now available in dental offices. As far as the

tooth appearing gray and dull in color, this is due to the bonding material of the restoration
separating from the tooth allowing bacteria and saliva inside the tooth causing decay. Replacing

the filling with new composite material is highly recommended so the bonding agent and

restoration as a whole is stable again preventing future leakage and decay.

Work Cited

Oltmanns, C. (2018). ​Powerpoint​. Lecture presented for Dental Materials Powerpoint.

Ferracane, J. L. (1995). ​Materials in Dentistry: Principles and Applications​ (2nd ed.).