White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings: Which is better?

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White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings: Which is better?

Did you know that even the best oral hygiene habits are not always enough to prevent cavities? Even though most brushing and flossing can help keep tooth decay away, genetics, mouth breathing, and dry mouth can increase susceptiably of developing cavities.

The truth is that most adults have to deal with at least one cavity at some point in their lives. If you are experiencing tooth decay, a dentist may recommend fillings to restore the function and shape of the tooth. Commonly, fillings are available in two colors:

  • White: Composed of composite resin, are tooth-colored, and are less noticeable
  • Silver: Formulated from a mixture of metals and are distinctly different from the natural 

Beyond aesthetics, here are the main differences between white and silver fillings.

Biocompatability: Do silver or white fillings have mercury? 

Silver fillings are metal-based and include a combination of metals (such as mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper). Even though metal fillings have been used for centuries, contemporary amalgam fillings are a controversial subject. If you currently have amalgam fillings, the FDA and many scientific communities deem amalgam fillings as safe. According to the Medical College of Georgia, researchers claim that amalgam filling don’t contain enough mercury to cause potential health problems.

However, consider composite resin fillings if you are sensitive to metals (or not comfortable with the idea of metal mouth). Unlike silver amalgam fillings, white composite fillings do not contain any metal and are composed of biocompatible dental resin.

Longevity: How long do silver and white fillings last?

While both filling options are durable, white fillings can last a little longer than silver fillings. With proper maintenance, composite fillings can last up to 10 or 15 years, and amalgam fillings can last 10 years.

Conservation: Which type of filling saves the most natural tooth structure?

Over time, cavities weaken teeth. After removing decayed tissue, the remaining dental structures are brittle and chip and crack more effortlessly than healthy teeth.

When comparing both types of dental fillings, silver fillings require more drilling and causes the teeth to become more vulnerable to damage in more than one way:

  • There is an increased likelihood of developing deep fractures with amalgam fillings.
  • Dentists do not bond silver fillings to teeth. Consequently, gaps can form between filling and tooth and fill with bacteria.

Price: How much do amalgam and composite fillings cost? 

Generally speaking, amalgam fillings are more affordable than composite resin fillings:

  • A single amalgam filling can range between $50 to $200
  • One composite resin filling can cost between $150 to $300

The out-of-pocket cost of fillings can range from location to location, and other factors to consider include:

  • How many teeth must be filled
  • Which teeth need filling
  • Size of the dental decay
  • Additional treatments
  • Insurance coverage

Speak with your insurance provider and dentist about projected treatment costs.

Learn More About Your Dental Filling Options in Atlanta, GA

To summarize, white fillings are more natural-looking, biocompatible, more conservative, and last longer. Comparatively, the sole advantage that silver fillings have over white fillings is that they are more affordable (though insurance often covers the cost of both types of fillings for cavities).
Dr. Abbey Lee can fill teeth with tooth-colored, composite resin instead of silver, amalgam fillings in just one visit. If you are worried about dental decay, book an appointment with our seasoned Smiles for Grant Park dentist by calling 404-328-7177 or messaging us online right now.

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