Most people will have at least one cavity at some point – especially because, thanks to genetics and age, even the very best oral hygiene habits aren’t 100% effective at preventing cavities. That isn’t to say that you should give up brushing and flossing, as these habits do help a lot when it comes to preventing cavities.
However, it does mean that almost everyone will have to get a filling. The two most common kinds of fillings are silver and white. But what are the differences between the two? Is one better than the other?
Silver fillings, commonly called silver alloy or dental amalgams, are made up of a mixture of different metals. Generally, dental amalgams are a combination of silver, mercury, tin, copper, and nickel in varying percentages.
There are a few positive aspects of silver fillings. For example, the silver alloy hardens more quickly than white fillings, making the procedure faster. Silver fillings also tend to be less expensive than other kinds of fillings, and they have also shown to be a bit more durable in the face of long-term wear and tear – often making them a decent option for molars.
However, there are several downsides to silver filings. The main one being that they are unattractive. Because the silver alloy is silver in color, it doesn’t blend in with the surrounding teeth, making it very obvious that there is a filling. Also, over time, the silver alloy can sometimes cause the surrounding teeth to turn grey or dull.
Silver fillings are also less desired because they contain mercury, and many patients are worried that the mercury will make its way into the bloodstream and cause mercury poisoning.
White fillings, sometimes called white composite resin, are made of ceramic and plastic in order to mimic teeth’s natural color. This natural color helps white fillings blend in with the surrounding teeth, and in many cases, the filling is undetectable. White fillings can also help protect the existing tooth structure and, unlike silver fillings, will not expand or contract with temperature changes.
There are many upsides to white fillings, but the main one is that they are unnoticeable in the mouth. They are very durable, generally lasting upwards of 30 years, and can even be used to restore a broken tooth’s original shape.
White fillings do tend to be more expensive than silver fillings as they are color customized and take a bit longer to put in.
Each type of filling brings its own positives and negatives, though most people prefer white fillings because they blend in with the surrounding teeth to preserve the smile.
The expert dentists at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry will work collaboratively with you to help determine the best kind of filling for you and your needs. Call us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with our Long Island dentists.
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