Silver fillings vs. white fillings

Silver dental amalgam fillings have been around for a very long time. They are strong and as studies have shown, safe. But these fillings stand out and do not look attractive. Over time they eventually fail to protect teeth from acids and bacteria, can break teeth and start to turn teeth black.

The good news is that continuing development of dental materials gives 21st century dentists the ability to restore teeth with materials that look natural and do not weaken the surrounding tooth structure.

As an experienced dentist, I like to use composite resins (white filling material) as an alternative to or replacement for silver dental amalgam fillings. As a clinician it is great to work with a material that allows me to restore teeth to a natural looking appearance without weakening them further.

One of the disadvantages of silver dental amalgam is that to hold them in place significant amounts of healthy tooth tissue must be removed.

Composite resins are bonded or “stuck” to the surrounding tooth structure. This bonding enhances the structural integrity of the tooth. Very little healthy tooth tissue needs removal compared to using silver dental amalgam. Composite resins are made of polymers that form a hard plastic. When well cared for by patients they can be expected to last for at least 10-15 years.

Composite resins are built up in layers and because they can be perfectly shade matched they can give the appearance of natural tooth tissue. This layering technique is more technically demanding of the dentist and requires more time to complete compared to using silver dental amalgam.

Unless there is an obvious breakage of a weakened tooth, patients are generally unaware that old silver dental amalgam fillings are not protecting their teeth.

As part of my patients’ dental health examination at Sedgefield Dental Practice I can take photographs of teeth with old fillings in to show patients the areas which are giving me cause for concern. I can then make recommendations on replacing worn out fillings with more modern alternatives such as composite resin.

To find out more about replacing your silver dental amalgam fillings please give our friendly team a call at Sedgefield Dental Practice on 01740 621040.