Dental Fillings in Missoula, MT
We provide tooth-colored (composite) and silver (amalgam) fillings. Sometimes the situation calls for one over the other, but we always accommodate your preference.
My favorite type of filling material is composite. I enjoy the challenge of recreating the shape and color of a healthy tooth so that it's difficult to tell there is even a filling there.
There are three basic types of filling materials (composite, amalgam, resin modified glass ionomer) with two main categories: tooth colored and silver colored.
Tooth Colored Fillings
There have been many different variations in the molecular makeup of composite over the years. The challenges of composite has been to develop a material that comes in many different colors to match different teeth. There's also a compromise between how strong a composite is and how well it can be polished. Composite differs greatly from amalgam in that it is bonded to the tooth, think "filling glue." This can be very advantageous in repairing teeth where a filling must be held in with "tooth glue." This often occurs with front teeth, which is good because not many patients like silver colored front teeth. The disadvantage of composite is that the success of the filling is largely dependent on the bond provided by the "glue." Water and saliva ruin the bond, which is why I use a rubber dam.
RESIN MODIFIED GLASS IONOMER (RMGI)
RMGI is very similar to composite in that it is tooth colored and bonded to the tooth. One neat attribute is that it is particularly good at releasing fluoride. It can also bond better to dentin, but not as well to enamel as composite can. On a microscopic level, RMGI can flex more than composite and amalgam. These advantages make this type of filling best for fixing teeth with problems along the gum line.
Silver Colored Fillings
Amalgam has been around for over a hundred years. This material has stood the test of time and can work really well. It's two main disadvantages are it's color and that it cannot bond to teeth. This limits amalgam to back teeth.
This video explains more on the differences between amalgam and composite fillings:
This video explains composite fillings for front teeth: