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White fillings vs Silver fillings: differences, pros and cons

white fillings and silver fillings

White fillings and silver amalgam fillings have distinct properties that can affect their suitability for different patients and situations. Let’s look into some of the main differences, advantages and disadvantages of each type of filling.

White Fillings

White dental fillings are not all the same, they can be made of different materials such as composite resinionomer or ceramic. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when exploring the different white filling options available to you.

White Composite Fillings

  • Made of a composite resin material that can be colour-matched to the surrounding tooth
  • Require a dry, clean environment to be placed and cured with a special light
  • Can bond to the tooth structure, which helps to strengthen the tooth

Advantages:

  • Very natural-looking, with excellent colour-matching to the surrounding tooth
  • Suitable for repairing teeth in highly visible areas of the mouth
  • Can be used for small to moderate-sized cavities
  • Bonding to the tooth can provide extra strength and support

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than silver fillings
  • May not last as long as silver fillings in larger cavities
  • Can shrink slightly when cured, which may lead to gaps between the filling and the tooth
  • Require more time and skill to place than silver fillings

White Glass Ionomer Fillings

  • Made of a glass and acrylic material that can release fluoride
  • Can bond chemically to the tooth structure
  • Require a clean, dry environment for placement

Advantages:

  • Can release fluoride, which helps to prevent further decay
  • Good colour-matching to the tooth, although not as precise as with composite fillings
  • Can be used for small to moderate-sized cavities
  • Chemically bonded to the tooth structure for added strength and support

Disadvantages:

  • Not as strong or long-lasting as composite or ceramic fillings
  • May be more prone to wear and fracture than other materials
  • May not have the same precision colour-matching as composite fillings

White Ceramic Fillings

  • Made of a ceramic material that can be colour-matched to the surrounding tooth
  • Require a laboratory to fabricate the filling
  • Can be bonded to the tooth structure

Advantages:

  • Excellent colour-matching to the surrounding tooth
  • Very durable, with excellent resistance to wear and fracture
  • Can be used for moderate to large-sized cavities
  • Resistant to staining

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than other types of fillings
  • Require a laboratory to fabricate the filling, which can take several days
  • Can be more brittle than other types of fillings, and may require a more substantial preparation of the tooth

Silver Amalgam Fillings

  • Made of a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury
  • Do not require a dry environment for placement
  • Can be placed quickly and easily

Advantages:

  • Very strong and long-lasting, with excellent resistance to wear and fracture
  • Can be used for moderate to large-sized cavities
  • Less expensive than white ceramic fillings
  • Require less tooth preparation than ceramic or composite fillings

Disadvantages:

  • Not as natural-looking as white fillings
  • May contain small amounts of mercury, which can be a concern for some patients
  • Can expand and contract over time, which may cause the tooth to crack or the filling to leak
  • Do not bond to the tooth structure, which can make them less supportive and increase the risk of tooth fracture

White fillings Vs Silver fillings: who wins?

  • White fillings automatically bond to the tooth, which makes it stronger. Silver fillings do not
  • Silver amalgam fillings require more drilling than white ones because the material used is less malleable
  • White fillings are more eye pleasing than silver fillings
  • The mass of metal alloys tends to change with temperature, which does not happen with that of teeth. The different pressure applied to the tooth by the filling’s shrinking and expanding can result in some gaps. These gaps can enable harmful bacteria to penetrate the filling and damage the tooth, but they can also cause the tooth to break

Considering all the factors mentioned above, white fillings seem to be the right option when it comes to choosing the right type of dental fillers for your teeth. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, they are safe for your health and more long lasting than ever.

As for whether to opt for composite fillings, ceramic fillings or ionomer fillings, it all depends on the positioning of the tooth that requires treatment. Only the dentist, after an initial screening, will be able to tell you which type of white filling is more suitable for you and the costs involved.

Book your appointment at Highfield Avenue Dental now!

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