What people call silver fillings are more accurately called amalgam fillings. They are a mixture of silver, some copper, maybe some other metals, and about 50% mercury. They have been used in dentistry since the 1840s, and while they have their strong points, we now have excellent composite materials that have several distinct advantages.
Some people question the safety of amalgam fillings because they are about 50% mercury. It used to be thought that the mercury was tightly bound to the other metals and would not be released. But recent research suggests that small amounts of mercury vapor are released during chewing on these fillings. Whether or not this tiny amount of mercury is toxic is a subject of controversy.
Dr. Newkirk prefers placing composite fillings. Here are the advantages:
Advantages of White Fillings
- Their chief advantages relate to the ability we have to bond the filling material to the tooth. This means that we don’t have to remove weakened tooth structure, which means that much less drilling is required for new cavities, meaning a much smaller filling.
- Composite (white) fillings bond directly to your teeth, strengthening their structure. In contrast, amalgam (silver) fillings weaken tooth structure, making them susceptible to cracks and breaks.
- Since amalgam is metal, it is an excellent conductor of hot and cold. Composite fillings insulate against hot and cold, meaning there will be less post-operative sensitivity.
- They can be matched to the color of your teeth. No one will know you’ve got a filling.
|Here’s a photograph of old amalgam fillings that have begun to break down and leak.||Here they are replaced with new white composite fillings.|
If you would like to learn more about composite fillings, call us (630-717-9499) to schedule an appointment, or click here to request an appointment online.