Once they know the advantages and disadvantages, most people seem to prefer white composite fillings to silver amalgam fillings. That’s because in several respects, the white fillings work better—it’s not just a matter of appearance.
See how beautiful these teeth look after removing the old fillings and replacing them with bonded white fillings. Besides looking better, these teeth are now more resistant to fracture.
Advantages of mercury-free white composite fillings as opposed to amalgam fillings:
- Since they bond to the tooth, composite fillings restore most of the original strength of the tooth, making it less likely to break. Amalgam doesn’t bond to the tooth. In fact, over time, the silver amalgam tends to expand and thus contributes to eventual fracture of teeth with larger fillings.
- Composite fillings look nicer. People are getting more sensitive to how their back teeth look since they show when you laugh or open your mouth.
- Teeth properly restored with white fillings are less sensitive to hot and cold than teeth restored with silver amalgam.
- Silver amalgam is approximately fifty percent mercury. Composite fillings are mercury-free. Mercury in the fillings is controversial and some researchers consider it toxic.
- Composites require less grinding away of healthy tooth structure. The size of the hole made for the filling can be considerably smaller with composites.
- Since they are bonded to the tooth, they will not become leaky fillings as long as the bonding is intact.
Advantages of silver amalgam fillings:
- They are generally less expensive. The materials used are less expensive and they are faster and easier to place.
- Many general dentists are not trained in the techniques for placing white composite fillings. The technique is not generally taught in most dental schools, and dentists have to pursue post-graduate training to become skilled in composite bonding technology.
- The silver amalgam filling by itself is a stronger material, although it weakens the tooth.
- Silver fillings have a longer history of use than mercury-free fillings, so some dentists feel that they are more tried and tested.
Dr. Michael Morgan sometimes uses laser dentistry to prepare teeth for white fillings. With laser dentistry, no drilling is required. It is so easy that local anesthetic isn’t required either, though most patients choose to be numb for the procedure.