For over a century, silver fillings were the only choice that a dentist had to fill cavities. This was mainly due to the fact that they needed to be strong enough to hold up on back teeth. But with the latest advances in bonding technology, white fillings are now strong enough and considered to be a legitimate option to fill cavities.
You may not realize that silver amalgam fillings are made up of less than half silver and the other half is made of mostly mercury. Even though the American Dental Association considers amalgam to be completely safe, many people are concerned about the negative health consequences that may occur with having mercury placed in the mouth.
The Many Benefits of White Fillings
Dr. Polly Reese has been placing white composite fillings for many years. In addition to them being mercury-free, they offer many other benefits over silver amalgam fillings.
- The application used to place white composite fillings allows them to bond directly to the tooth. This process actually makes your tooth stronger; whereas amalgam fillings weaken the tooth. This means you have less of a chance that your tooth will crack or fracture over time with composite.
- White composite fillings have less post-operative sensitivity because there is no metal in in them. Silver amalgam fillings can conduct heat and cold and patients sometimes complain of sensitivity to temperature.
- There is less drilling away of your natural tooth with composite fillings. So this means that after the decay has been taken care of, the composite materials will bond directly to the tooth. But with silver amalgam fillings, the drilling goes beyond the removal of the decay. The removed portion actually needs to be wider than the cavity so the filling stays in place.
- Some patients have complained of a metallic taste from silver amalgam.
- White fillings are tooth colored so they are much more natural-looking.
Comparison of White Versus Amalgam Fillings
Photographed below is an example of silver amalgam fillings shown on the left, and composite fillings shown on the right.
You can see how much more esthetically-pleasing the composite fillings are. But if you look very closely at the images, you will notice a small gap between the silver amalgam fillings and the natural tooth. This is not the case with the composite material because they seal the tooth during the bonding process thus strengthening the tooth.
If you are interested in tooth colored fillings or have any questions about the process to place them, please give us a call.