Potential longevity of dental restorations is a critical factor because every dental procedure represents trauma to the nerve of the tooth. Repeated trauma to the nerve from filling replacement during the course of a lifetime is cumulative and eventually could cause nerve breakdown. Porcelain restorations cost more initially than amalgams or composites, but porcelain’s longevity decreases the potential need for root canal therapy.
Whether the filling is of amalgam, white composite or porcelain, longevity is influenced by the amount of natural tooth structure preserved during removal of decay. An amalgam filling cannot adhere to tooth surfaces, and the amalgam-placing dentist must create an undercut after removing decay, sacrificing healthy tooth structure to trap the amalgam filling in place. For composites or porcelain, the dentist strives to remove decay only. The cleaned-out space inside the tooth for a composite or porcelain prep often has relatively straight or inward-slanting walls. Healthy tooth structure is preserved.
Again, we encourage you to research safety issues surrounding amalgam restorations for yourself. When existing amalgam fillings are mechanically intact, it must be your personal choice to have them replaced with other materials, whether for health or esthetic reasons.
Anne B. Filler Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
31 Lowell Road, Windham, NH 03087
Filler Family Dentistry
9 Hampton Road, Exeter, NH 03833