It’s a common procedure, but still a bit mysterious to some, so we hear a lot of questions about the process. One of the most common questions is the difference between tooth-colored fillings and silver fillings.
White or tooth-colored fillings (composite) are used most often these days. But silver fillings (amalgam) have been used for more than 150 years and are still common. Both last about the same amount of time, 10 to 15 years. Despite some concerns about mercury in silver fillings, both the FDA and ADA have ruled them perfectly safe.
White fillings cost a bit more than silver fillings and we find insurance companies are behind the times: they might cover the full cost of your silver filling, but leave you with a bill for the composite (this varies based on what insurance you have, so make sure to check!)
So why choose white fillings over silver? A few reasons:
1. Composite/white fillings take less tooth. We can usually leave more of the tooth structure behind with these fillings. With silver fillings, we have to take more to make sure the filling fits correctly.
2. Silver fillings are made of metal, which can expand or contract with heat and cold. Over time, these small changes may crack a tooth, eventually leading to the need for a larger replacement or even a crown.
3. The white color of composite fillings make it easier to see new decay or any chipping. When we find that, we can do some small repairs — without turning on a drill. If your silver filling has a problem, we have to replace the entire thing to make sure it has a good seal around the edges.
While most dentists in our area (Raleigh, Garner, Clayton) use both silver and composite fillings, here at Moore Smiles, we use two separate de-sensitizers to prevent sensitivity from occurring. Call us today for more info or any questions you may have.