Mercury-Free Composite Fillings And Silver Amalgam Fillings – What’s The Difference?

Apr 24, 2014 | Dental Information, Oral Health Care, Restorative Dental Care

Before we talk about composite fillings, it’s important to note that traditional amalgam (silver) fillings are currently found in the teeth over 100 million people in North America. While the formulation of these fillings does include a tiny amount of mercury content, the safety of amalgam has been studied again and again without finding any correlation between the minute amounts of mercury released from amalgam fillings (through brushing and chewing) and any negative health effects.

Mercury-Free (Composite) Fillings – The Next Generation

Despite the safety and durability of traditional amalgam, dentistry is slowly moving away from the product toward composite and other resins. These new tooth-coloured filling materials are durable and fracture-resistant when used for small and mid-size fillings in teeth that are under the constant stress of chewing. For those who want their fillings to look more natural, they’re an excellent choice.

It takes longer, in general, for dentists to place a composite filling versus an amalgam filling, but that’s mostly because the tooth has to be kept clean and dry during the entire procedure. The fact that composite fillings are tooth-coloured has made them more popular than their amalgam predecessor – since most people these days are seeking a natural look for their teeth.

Composite Fillings Are Great – In Most Cases

There are cases where we do not recommend composite fillings – and for good reason. For cavities involving over half the width of the tooth, composite fillings are, in general, more likely to break down – meaning you’ll be back in the office to have your filling drilled-out and re-done sooner than you’d probably like. In these cases we have stronger and longer lasting options like Crowns, Onlays and Veneers.

The choice regarding what material to use for fillings in your teeth is a balancing act – you, along with your dentist, need to weigh durability, strength and cost. Knowing what to expect when it comes to each option will help you make the most informed choice – and it helps us when we know that our patients are making decisions based on the facts and our years of experience.

Our Thoughts On The Best Kind Of Filling

If you ask us, the best filling is actually no filling. Prevention is, and always has been, the best medicine. There are plenty of things you can do to decrease your risk of needing a filling, such as:

Which Filling Is Right For Your Teeth? Ask Us!

When it comes time to making a decision regarding the type of material to use in tooth repair, your best bet is to visit your dentist who can work with you and get you the information you need based on your dental history and other factors. No two teeth are the same, and it’s important to have a dental professional visually assess your teeth to determine what the best long-term filling option is.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about new fillings – or fillings you’ve had for decades, we’re here to help. Give us a call and set up an appointment today.