White Fillings: A Superior Choice for Cosmetic Dentistry Patients

comparison of silver and white fillings

Silver amalgam fillings were long considered to be the standard treatment for patients with cavities. This filling material is indeed durable, but no one wants to show a mouthful of metal when they smile, laugh, or dine out with friends. Plus, silver amalgam fillings are actually made of toxic material, which is not something that the average person would want inside his or her mouth. If you still have silver amalgam fillings, consider stopping by Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry to talk to Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot about having them removed and replaced with a better alternative.

Do metal fillings pose health risks?

One compelling reason to consider replacing your silver amalgam fillings with tooth-colored fillings is the potential health risks. Silver amalgam is actually a blend of multiple metals, including silver, tin, copper, zinc, palladium, indium, and mercury. This last metal is of particular concern for health-conscious individuals, as mercury is toxic.

So why add mercury to fillings at all? It was first added to the blend because of its capacity to make the filling pliable. This allows dentists to shape the filling to suit the tooth and the patient’s bite alignment. Mercury allows the filling to harden quickly after it’s applied. Once it’s hardened, the substance is highly resistant to the significant force of biting and chewing.

Exposure to mercury causes levels in the body’s organs to increase, which can cause health problems such as memory loss, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and other issues. It was previously thought that silver amalgam fillings posed no risk to patients because the mercury was not absorbed by the body. Scientists now know that low levels of mercury vapor are released as the silver amalgam filling wears down.

In addition to the general concerns about mercury that can affect any dental patient, some individuals experience allergic reactions to mercury. This is a rare type of allergy, but may be quite serious.

Why are tooth-colored fillings better?

Tooth-colored fillings, also known as composite, ceramic, or porcelain fillings, are clearly a superior choice for dental patients who are concerned about their overall wellness. However, they’re often chosen simply because they are far more aesthetically pleasing compared to unsightly silver amalgam fillings. When the dentist applies tooth-colored fillings, these restorations are carefully shaped to ensure the patient’s comfort with the bite alignment. The dentist also adjusts the shade of the filling material right in the office so that the filling blends in seamlessly with the rest of the patient’s smile.

Cosmetic dentistry services in Suffolk County

For all of your cosmetic dentistry needs, you can count on the caring team at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot look forward to meeting you and designing your personalized treatment recommendations, which may include replacing silver amalgam fillings with aesthetically superior white fillings. In addition to white fillings, our office provides CEREC crowns, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and dental implants. If your family lives on Long Island, call our office today to schedule an appointment.

Additional “white tooth fillings” resources

  1. Colgate, Dental Amalgam: A Health Risk? http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/procedures/fillings/article/dental-amalgam-a-health-risk
  2. WebMD, Dental Health and Tooth Fillings, http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-fillings#1

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Jacky Gale

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