In the days when there was no alternative, amalgam or “silver” fillings were accepted and did an outstanding job. Where they have never performed well is in how they look. Not only does an amalgam filling stand out, but it can discolour the whole tooth behind the enamel.
Luckily these days there is an alternative – white composite resin that matches your tooth colour exactly. This material is a little more expensive than amalgam but the benefit – retaining the appearance of your natural teeth – is priceless.
We still use amalgam in new fillings but we use composite more often. Many of our patients with old amalgam fillings are also coming in to have them replaced with white composite, for cosmetic reasons or because they are concerned about the safety of amalgam. We are guided by the British Dental Association, which states that amalgam is safe.
The advantages of White Fillings:
• They are tooth-coloured. No one will notice them once within your mouth, making them suitable for any tooth.
• Only a small amount of your tooth is removed before a composite filling is applied, conserving as much tissue as possible.
• You can eat and drink immediately after they have been placed in your mouth – no need to wait for them to harden.
• They can be bonded (or “joined”) to your tooth very effectively and once they are, the tooth may be stronger than it was before.
• They are great for treating early decay and small areas of damage, halting its progress before more serious problems occur that take longer to fix.
• They are very durable.