What is the difference between composite (white) fillings and amalgam (silver) fillings?
Many of our patients have questions about the type of restoration that will work best for them and also have concerns about the appearance of their restorations. Sometimes patients have strong feelings regarding the use of one type of restoration or another. Here are some of the main differences between composite and amalgam fillings:
Composite (white) fillings – One of the obvious benefits of composite fillings is that they match the shade of your natural teeth, so they do not adversely affect the appearance of your smile. In addition to aesthetics, composite fillings require the removal of less of your natural tooth structure and can help preserve the integrity of your tooth. Composite fillings are both strong and reliable. With proper care, you can expect them to last five to seven years or even longer.
Amalgam (silver) fillings – These traditional fillings have some benefits and some drawbacks. Benefits include allowing us to place a filling even in a moist environment, something that is not possible with composite fillings, which need to be completely dry. Amalgam fillings also have more “give” and may provide greater longevity when the patient has a strong bite or grinds his or her teeth. Insurance companies often cover only amalgam fillings for posterior teeth.
While some people have concerns about the mercury in amalgam fillings, the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration state that the small amount of mercury in amalgam fillings is not dangerous to patients when properly administered.
If you have questions about the type of restoration that will work best for you, contact our office. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to discuss your options and the benefits of each.