Until just a few years ago, there were only two practical options for filling a cavity in a back tooth – either silver amalgam or a costly gold inlay. They were the only materials strong enough to withstand heavy chewing forces. Now, however, with advances in filling and bonding technology, white composites can be placed that are extremely wear resistant and offer the added advantage of bonding to tooth structure.
Few people realize that what are called silver fillings are actually less than half silver. There is more mercury in them than silver. And the technical term for the material is silver amalgam. The American Dental Association (ADA) considers these amalgam fillings safe, but many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of having mercury in their mouths.
Advantages of White Fillings
Dr. Steve Sirin in Elgin has placed white composite fillings for many years. In addition to being mercury-free, white fillings offer many benefits that amalgam or silver fillings do not.
- White fillings bond directly to your tooth actually making it stronger unlike amalgam fillings which weaken your tooth. Also, your tooth may fracture over time with the amalgam.
- White composite fillings have no metal so there is much less sensitivity. Silver amalgam being metal, is an excellent conductor of hot and cold, but the white composite is actually an insulator helping to protect the tooth against this type of sensitivity.
- Less drilling of your tooth is required with white composite fillings because only the decayed portion of the tooth needs to be removed. This means a much smaller filling. With silver amalgam, the drilling must exceed the decayed portion because all weak and undermined tooth structure has to be removed in order for the amalgam to stay in place and hold up under chewing pressures.
- There is no metallic taste with white composite fillings.
- White composite fillings are virtually the same color as your tooth enamel so they blend in with your natural teeth and it will not look like you have any fillings.
If you have a cavity and are interested in mercury-free white composite fillings or simply have questions about the process, please give our offices a call.