Which filling? Amalgam or white composite?

18th March 2021 | Posted by: SpaDental Administrator

What’s the choice? What are fillings made of?

Most people need fillings at some point in their lives, and, thanks to improvements in technology, many patients are now choosing white composite fillings, rather than traditional silver fillings made from amalgam. Indeed, in private dentistry white fillings are the default choice and amalgam fillings are only used when placing a white filling is not possible.

The NHS now ensures children only have white fillings unless there is a clinical reason for having to place amalgam, which the dentist must document. Adults receiving NHS treatment, however, are offered white fillings in front teeth, but amalgam is placed in back teeth.

Did you know?

White composite filling material can be used to make aesthetic changes to your teeth too.

Dentists also use the material for white fillings to make small repairs to the edges of teeth. Composite doesn’t just have to sit in the hollow of a tooth – it bonds to edges of teeth well.

If you have an uneven line on the bottom edge of a tooth, or a chipped tooth, then a dentist can bond composite on so that the join is only noticeable to a professional eye. Composite bonding repairs minor damage, helping to prevent dental decay. Moreover, composite bonding makes an aesthetic difference too as it can fill irregularities and improve the shape of teeth.

Why not ask your dentist if composite bonding could improve the appearance of your teeth?

Fantastic smile make over – Even though it was only a small bit of bonding over two teeth it has changed my smile and given me so much confidence. Thank you. ZB – a SpaDental Plymouth patient

There are many benefits to white composite fillings:

Advantages of white fillings:

gloved hand holding drill for which filling, amalgam or white

White fillings require less drilling.

Disadvantages of white fillings:

Although most patients would rather choose white fillings, there are some disadvantages:

What are amalgam or silver fillings made of?

Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. A necessary component, mercury binds the amalgam together so it moulds into the cavity. Nowadays, legislation restricts the use of amalgam in children’s teeth. In addition, amalgam fillings are in capsules for safety, and dental chairs have amalgam separators to prevent pollution of the environment.

What are white or tooth-coloured fillings made of?

a woman in the dentists chair having a white composite filling using a special purple light.

Using an LED light to bond composite.

White or tooth-coloured fillings can be made of a number of materials, including synthetic and ceramic compounds, and glass particles. Your dentist can tell you more about the specific types of materials the practice uses, and the light used to bond them.

Are amalgam or silver fillings stronger than white or tooth-coloured fillings?

Although white fillings once had a reputation for being less hardwearing, technology has moved on rapidly over the last decade, and white fillings are now much stronger. The additional benefits mean white fillings are increasingly the first choice for people who need their teeth filled.

Should I replace my silver or amalgam fillings with white fillings?

That depends. Many people decide to wait until their amalgam filling needs replacing, whereas others choose to go ahead and replace them immediately. Your dentist may recommend replacing the largest amalgam fillings first. Your dentist will be able to advise you.

If you can avoid the need to have a filling, that’s the best option!

Help yourself by taking care of your teeth, and helping others, especially children, to establish good oral hygiene routines at home.

Children deserve healthy teeth with no fillings!

Please remember it’s important to visit the dentist regularly. Your dentist can detect and treat tooth decay before it becomes a bigger problem.

POSTED IN: Filling


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