Many people still have silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye. We know that by unavoidable design, silver fillings ultimately result in a weaker, discolored tooth structure. Porcelain inlays or onlays and tooth colored composite restorations create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Advantages of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings are less time consuming to place and less expensive than tooth colored fillings. It is the oldest restorative material in dentistry, dating back to the early 1900’s.
Disadvantages of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings have several drawbacks in addition to poor esthetics and tooth discoloration.
This material contains small amounts of mercury. Its use has become controversial due to the potential negative impact on health associated with mercury absorption in the body. Because Dr. Levy and Dr. Kotkin are holistic dentist, they believes in promoting health and wellness of the entire individual in addition to treating various dental diseases. Most prefer to avoid any potential risks associated with dental amalgam and opt for the placement of tooth colored composite fillings.
With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split a tooth. This can result in the tooth requiring root canal therapy and a crown. In a worst case scenario, it can necessitate the extraction of the tooth and replacement with a dental implant.
When first placed in a tooth, silver fillings tend to cause the tooth to be significantly more sensitive to hot and cold than a tooth colored restoration.
Silver fillings can leak corrosion products and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth colored restorations.
Advantages of Composite Tooth Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to composite tooth colored fillings. They are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. In contrast to silver fillings, when tooth colored restorations age, they do not expand causing tooth structure to crack like silver fillings do. These fractures often lead to pain and the necessity of crowns (caps) and root canal therapy.
Composite fillings can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger. More of your natural tooth structure can be preserved because composite fillings adhere (are bonded) to your teeth whereas silver fillings do not.
When used in place of a silver filling, not only do they look better, but usually result in a minimal amount of hot and cold sensitivity afterwards. In many instances, there is no sensitivity after they are placed!
Small to moderate size silver fillings can be replaced in one visit with tooth colored composite restorations. The result is a beautiful smile!
As cosmetic dentists, Drs. Levy and Kotkin would be happy to discuss tooth colored restorations with you.