Amalgam fillings have traditional been used for tooth restoration. They are durable and inexpensive, but are considered aesthetically unpleasant and can give teeth a gray appearance. Composite, resin, or white fillings have been prevalent for over two decades. Composite fillings are created form an organic polymer known as bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (BIS-GMA), and inorganic particles such as borosilicate glass, quartz, and lithium aluminum silicate.
Composite fillings are preferred for restoring the front teeth. If placed improperly however, they can be susceptible to decay. Despite research that a by-product of resin restorations increase the risk of breast cancer, composite fillings are generally considered safe and approved by the American Dental Association.
Porcelain is frequently used for dental fillings. The material is composed of silicon and oxygen, it provides patients with an aesthetic improvement, making it the preferred option for a cosmetically appealing result. They are brittle and can be susceptible to breakage.
In some cases, gold can be a material for dental fillings. It is not pure gold, but an alloy containing 75% gold, as well as copper, silver, platinum, palladium, and zinc. The gold material is highly durable and does not cause damage to opposing teeth during biting. They last longer than other materials, but are not as aesthetic or composite or porcelain material. They can also be difficult to prepare and position to the teeth.
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