Swapping Silver Fillings for White Fillings
We are often asked by our patients if they should have their old amalgam (silver fillings) removed. This is a personal choice for your smile. The following is the official stance of the American Dental Association:
On Amalgam Removal, the ADA policy remains, on the basis of the research available, that the use of dental amalgam produces no harmful effects. The World Health Organization and the International Dental Federation have released a joint statement confirming the safety of dental amalgam as a filling material. The ADA believes there is no positive gain in having dental amalgam fillings replaced with other materials, other than for aesthetic reasons. We are happy to remove your old silver fillings for patients that request this for whatever reason but will not suggest or imply that this will cure any other health problems. Again the removal of amalgam fillings is a free choice that is up to the patient for cosmetic results. The single best benefit, besides a whiter smile, is a new, upgraded, filling in place of an old one.
—American Dental Association
A composite resin filling (white filling) is:
- Mercury free
- Made of a tooth colored plastic mixture filled with glass particles
- Used for restoring decay
- Used for cosmetic improvements
- New technological advancements in dentistry has allowed us to do white (composite or resin) natural tooth colored filling
The advantages of white fillings are:
- White fillings are the same color as your teeth
- Composite filling integrates with the tooth…it doesn’t weaken the tooth as a silver filling does.
- We now can make a smaller hole, since the white material can flow into small places.
- Due to the smaller hole, there is more of your own tooth left, leaving it stronger.
- Secondary decay is easier to spot beneath tooth colored fillings.
- If damaged, they can be easily fixed.
- They are temperature and electrical insulators-resistant to extremes of heat and cold.
- Environmentally safe-no hazardous metal wastes to dispose of and no risk of mercury allergy.
- Allowing us to fix smaller cavities.
- You don’t have to wait till a cavity gets “big enough to fill.”
- In some cases we can do an almost microscopic filling just when it starts by using air abrasion instead of the drill. These are often done without anesthetic if we catch them early enough.
- They are a more natural, attractive choice.
- Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth to help prevent breakage.
- Composite insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
- Composites (white fillings) last about 8 years with a range of 7-10 years.