There’s some debate in the dental industry regarding the pros and cons of using silver fillings, or dental amalgams, to fill cavities. At our office, we mostly use composite resins for several reasons (At times, silver fillings are still indicated). First, composite resin actually bonds to your tooth structure, protecting against decay and strengthening the tooth. And of course, strength means better longevity…increasing your chances of keeping that tooth for life. By contrast, dental amalgams do not form such a bond: they simply form a mechanical barrier to decay. Thus, over time, the amalgam-treated tooth can weaken, often creating a liability to your long-term dental health.
Resins are also advantageous in providing long-term bacterial invasion protection. Once bonded, the filling won’t wear down or change its shape despite the incredible forces of biting and chewing. Since there’s no cracking or shifting involved, there’s no ‘place of entry’ for bacteria. However, silver amalgams on biting surfaces do change shape with biting and chewing impact. Thus, little by little, the filling may not ‘fill’ the cavity any longer. Tiny cracks and shifts in the material can easily allow bacterial reinvasion, creating a bigger decay problem than you had at first. In addition to these functional reasons, we appreciate the esthetic value of composite resins: allowing us to match your normal enamel color so closely that your dental work will be nearly invisible. So, all things considered, we find white fillings to be conservative, durable, and attractive!