What is the Difference Between White Fillings and Silver Fillings?

For over 100 years, dentists have used silver amalgam fillings to fill cavities. The materials are inexpensive and last a long time. White fillings are a natural-looking alternative to silver fillings. They are an excellent option for patients who want their fillings to match their teeth. Fortunately, modern advances in dentistry have provided new options for dental restoration.


White FillingsWhat are White Fillings?

White fillings, also known as resin composite fillings, are made of ceramic and plastic compounds. Because resin looks like natural teeth, these fillings blend right in with the tooth color.

Resin composite fillings are now used more often than amalgam fillings, mostly for cosmetic reasons. Patients tend to prefer fillings that blend with their natural tooth color and that can be structured to resemble real teeth.

The advantages of white fillings include:

  • Same color teeth. The fillings blend in.
  • Easy bonding. Resin composite fillings bond to the surface of your tooth.
  • Preserves the tooth. The flexibility of resin composite means less drilling is required.

They offer good durability and resistance to fracture. White fillings can be used on the front or back teeth.


What are Silver Fillings?

Silver fillings are also known as amalgam fillings. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Mercury makes up about 50% of the compound. It binds the metals together to provide a durable filling. When combined with the other metals, the mercury in fillings forms a safe, stable compound. This type of filling has been around since 1895. Silver-colored fillings are noticeable and hard to miss when you open your mouth.

The advantages of silver fillings include:

  • Proven. Silver amalgam fillings have been used for over a century.

The disadvantages of silver fillings include:

  • Noticeable. Unlike white fillings, metal fillings are hard to miss when you open wide.
  • Allergies. Some people are sensitive to the metals in amalgam (mercury, silver, tin, and copper).

In the past, white fillings typically did not last as long as silver amalgam fillings. There are now new materials available that are comparable to silver fillings, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.

Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing daily, eating a well-balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly will go a long way in helping to prevent cavities. But when they do form, white fillings are an excellent option that will contribute to a bright, white smile!

For more information about white fillings, please contact Webster Dental today at (630) 663-0554. Webster Dental is located at 1121 Warren Avenue, in the heart of Downers Grove.

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