Explore the Differences Between Silver and Composite Fillings
Just told that you’re in need of a filling? You’re not alone. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a whopping 91% of U.S. adults suffer from tooth decay and/or cavities. Tooth decay can be caused by genetics, bacteria growth, and even our public water systems can create an ideal environment for tooth deterioration.
Unfortunately simply ignoring a cavity will not make it go away. If ignored, it will continue to decay leading to exposed nerves and a whole lot of pain! Even more frightening than the pain is the danger of an infection spreading from the tooth to the jaw. In extreme cases, an infection caused from a cavity and ignored may lead to serious illness and even death. This is highly unlikely, but it is a concern and something that can easily be avoided with proper dental care.
Now that you’re aware of your need for a filling you have another decision to consider: choosing a silver amalgam filling or a tooth-colored composite filing. So let's get started and breakdown the differences!
Silver Fillings: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Silver amalgam fillings last a long time, but not without some serious drawbacks. They require the removal of more of your natural tooth structure compared to that of composite fillings. Most dentists agree that the less removal of one's natural tooth structure, the better.
Silver fillings also do not respond to temperature changes well. They will expand in size when eating something hot and shrink while eating or drinking something cold. These unnatural fluctuations in size make your tooth more vulnerable to future cracks and fractures.
Something else to consider is its appearance. Silver fillings are easy to spot with the naked eye. This may not be important to some, but to others this may lead to a self consciousness when laughing or smiling.
There is also a debate of the safety of having metal in your mouth from silver fillings, but there has been no clear answer about this concern.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are many upsides to tooth-colored composite fillings. One of the most important is their ability to move. They will flex and bend just like your natural tooth when chewing, leading to an even distribution of pressure which results in a stronger tooth that is unlikely to fracture. That is to say that they actually strengthen your natural tooth while at the same time preventing future tooth decay.
The fact that composite fillings requires less of your natural tooth structure to be removed, equals some great news for you - less drilling! They can be filled quickly, typically in a single visit.
Not only are they more natural in movement and less invasive, they’re also aesthetically pleasing. There’s no need to worry about showing your teeth when your fillings are the exact same shade as your natural teeth. Yes, they will need to be replaced after many years, but they’re highly durable and can even be repaired if they become damaged.
Tooth-colored fillings are also completely safe and although there is no solid answer on the dangers of metal, it may just be worth it to get the filling type that is known to be a 100% safe.
Still unsure of which to choose? Speak to your dentist about any remaining questions you may have.