Metal Amalgam Vs. Composite Fillings: Which Is Better For A Molar Tooth Cavity?

The molar teeth are the rearmost teeth in each section of your mouth. Molars have wide tops with multiple cusps meant to help the teeth grind food into small bits before you swallow. Cavities in molars can often be treated with a dental filling. There are a variety of dental filling materials available, but two of the most common are metal amalgam and composite resin.

Which of these common materials is a better choice for a molar tooth filling? The choice comes down mostly to whether you prioritize a natural appearance or durability – and the discretion of your general dentist, who you should consult for advice tailored to your particular needs or circumstances.

Here are a couple of the general pros and cons of both composite resin and metal amalgam fillings.

Most Natural Looking: Composite Resin

Composite resin is an opaque material that can be tinted to closely match the hue of your natural teeth. The end result is a highly natural looking filling in your molar tooth.

Molar teeth aren't typically visible to other people. But if you have a job where you spend a lot of time talking to strangers or you open your mouth widely when talking, you might consider the cosmetic concern of a natural-looking filling to be your primary concern. In that case, a composite resin filling might be the best choice for your situation.

But composite resin isn't the most durable filling material around particularly when used in a tooth like a molar, which does a lot of grinding and takes on bite force each time you chew. You might have to get a composite resin replaced sooner than a stronger type of filling. But the trade-off might be worth it to you if you place primary value on a natural look.

Most Durable: Metal Amalgam

Metal amalgam, also called silver amalgam, is popular in dentistry for the low cost and the durability of the material. Silver amalgam is often used in molar teeth fillings because the material can take on both the grinding and bite force without the early damage risk that a composite resin filling faces.

The downside is that the metal amalgam tooth looks obviously metallic. If you have a small or mostly interior-contained cavity in your molar, the metal amalgam filling likely won't be noticeable even when your mouth is opened wide. But larger cavities can require a sizeable metal amalgam tooth that might be noticeable to others.

For more information, contact Arrowhead Family Dentistry S. M. Bhatt DDS Inc. or a similar location.