Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Better Than Silver?

Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Better Than Silver?

Jun 01, 2022

Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, you might still experience cavities or decay at some point in your life. Mainly, cavities occur when the tooth’s enamel becomes compromised due to dental trauma, plaque, bacteria, and regular consumption of acidic items. If you suspect you have cavities, you should seek treatment right away. Untreated cavities and decay can lead to further complications such as tooth loss, gum disease, and jawbone damage.

Once you visit our dentist in Westwood, MA, they will likely recommend a dental filling. The procedure involves drilling through the tooth and removing the infected tissues. It leaves behind a hole. Next, a special filling material is placed to fill the hole, restoring the tooth’s structure and strength. The dentist might recommend placing a dental crown for added support and protection if the damage is significant.

Silver Amalgam Vs. Tooth-colored Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings were the only option to repair tooth cavities in the past. These fillings are made from mercury, tin, copper, silver, and zinc alloy. While very durable and effective, silver fillings come with their downsides. The major one is their dark grey appearance, making them aesthetically unappealing.

Thanks to modern dental technology, experts have developed tooth-colored fillings. Perhaps the major benefit of tooth-colored fillings is their great aesthetics. Tooth-colored fillings are made from tooth-colored materials like composite resin and porcelain, which closely match the color of the natural teeth.

Are Tooth-colored Fillings better than Silver Amalgam? Factors to consider:

  • Aesthetic appeal

Thanks to their natural tooth-looking color, tooth-colored fillings have a cosmetic advantage over silver amalgam fillings. Silver amalgam fillings have a dull appearance, making them aesthetically unappealing. If you’re looking to repair a front tooth, tooth-colored fillings are your best option. There are nearly impossible to notice when speaking, eating, or laughing.

  • Strength and durability

Compared to composite resin fillings, silver amalgam offers more strength and durability. Therefore, they are ideal for back teeth restorations as they can withstand the great forces of chewing and grinding food.

  • Metal-free dentistry

For most patients, the metal composition of the silver amalgam fillings is a major concern. Since silver fillings are created from mercury and other metals, most people are concerned that the filling could hurt their oral and overall health. For instance, some people are worried that they might ingest traces of metals if the filling chips break or wear down with time.

  • Discoloration on the natural tooth

Over time, silver amalgam fillings tend to cause a greyish hue on the natural tooth, causing an unnatural and unattractive smile. Tooth-colored restorations won’t affect your natural tooth, helping you maintain a beautiful and natural smile.

  • Changes in temperature

Another major downside with silver amalgam fillings is that they respond to temperature changes. This means they expand and contract when exposed to extreme heat or cold. Over time, these expansions and contractions can lead to irreversible damage to the tooth. Fortunately, tooth-colored fillings aren’t affected by changes in temperature.

  • Cost

As far as the cost is concerned, tooth-colored fillings tend to cost more than amalgam fillings. Silver amalgam fillings might be your best option if you have a tight budget.

  • Tooth Preparation

Typically, silver amalgam fillings require a significant part of the tooth’s enamel to be shaved before being placed. This can comprise the tooth’s structure, making it vulnerable to damage. Tooth-colored fillings require fewer teeth shaving, preserving more of your natural tooth.

Which Option is Better?

The right treatment comes down to your specific condition, budget, needs, and preferences. In general, tooth-colored fillings are ideal for repairing teeth damage on front teeth due to their great aesthetics. On the other hand, silver amalgam fillings are best for back teeth restorations due to their strength and durability.

Still, it’s important to consult your dentist for advice. They will examine your mouth and evaluate your needs to determine the best treatment option.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for dental fillings in Westwood, MA, or would you like to learn more about tooth fillings? Contact Westwood Dental Group – Formerly the office of Dr. Donald J. McLellan to book your appointment today.

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