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A lifespan study of 2,035 fillings found
dental amalgams lasted on average 15 years,
while plastic composite fillings lasted about 8 years.

(SOURCE: The Journal of the American College of Dentists--1998)
Your Jaws ~ Your Life (page 48)

For 150 years, dental amalgam fillings have played a key role in treating decayed teeth. Dental amalgam is safe, strong, long lasting, effective and economical. Although its appearance is unesthetic, its clinical performance and effectiveness are unsurpassed by those of resin composites. Some people blame dental amalgam for illnesses with no known cause, and stir fear. Fear then drives some people to replace their amalgam fillings with plastic fillings.

Plastic tooth colored composite filling materials are used frequently now. Originally white filling materials were designed for use in the front of the mouth where chewing forces are low. Now they are also used in back teeth where chewing forces can be heavy. While plastic filling materials and techniques have improved, the placement of plastic composite materials remains very technique sensitive. There are long term health concerns about plastic fillings too.

As of this writing, research shows that amalgam and plastic filling materials are very safe. Therefore, when choosing dental care, patients and doctors should keep in mind the main goal, which is to save teeth, keep jaws supported, and keep the airways open. Ask your doctor to help you choose whether dental amalgam or plastic composite materials are right for you.

David C. Page, D.D.S.
Your Jaws ~ Your Life (pages 48-49)

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