What Color Filling is Best for Your Teeth?
If you’ve ever needed a filling, you may have been given the option between a silver filling and a white filling. The difference between the two lies deeper than color: silver fillings are made of a material called amalgam, and white fillings are made of composite resin. Amalgam is made up of mercury, tin, silver, and copper, and is generally considered a durable material for fillings. A composite filling is a combination of plastic and ceramic materials that gives the filled tooth a more natural look. So which is a better choice for you?
fillingsLet’s talk a little more about amalgam. The inclusion of mercury usually raises a little concern because many of us identify it as a harmful substance. The mercury in amalgam is used as a bonding agent that helps hold the other three materials together. It solidifies in the tooth and poses no threat to your health. Amalgam is widely used as a filling material because it is considered more durable than composite resin. Especially when cosmetic appeal isn’t a deciding factor, amalgam is recommended more often-it’s also the first choice for the American Dental Association. For example, if your cavity is in one of your back teeth where style doesn’t matter and strength is important, an amalgam filling is likely your best option. If it’s one of your front teeth that needs the filling, however, a more aesthetically appealing option might be better.
Here’s where composite resin comes into play. Again, a composite filling is a combination of plastic and ceramic materials that blend into your smile. Though they look nice against the whiteness of your teeth, they aren’t necessarily the most durable option. Even with both options available most dentists still choose to use amalgam as the material for fillings in the back teeth. If you don’t have a lot of wear and tear on your teeth, and if you don’t suffer from bruxism, a composite filling might be a good option for a filling anywhere in your mouth. This decision is best made by you and your dentist.
A final thought to consider when choosing between these two types of filling material is cost. Basic insurance plans usually cover the cost of silver amalgam fillings because of their known durability. The cost of white composite fillings are usually only partially covered by insurance because they are more expensive and less likely to stand a test of time. This might be another conversation to have with your dentist when choosing a material that’s right for you.