Composite Porcelain Filling vs. Silver Amalgam Fillings

A lot of patients are asking which fillings are better for your health and which fillings are longer lasting: white, porcelain tooth colored or silver, metal fillings.

There are no definite answers to those questions, but the latest scientific research shows the following:

Silver, amalgam fillings definitely have a high content of mercury which is released into the mouth during the whole life of the filling especially upon placement and removal. Because they release mercury during their whole life they shrink in time creating a gap between the filling and the tooth, resulting in marginal decay (cavities between the tooth and the filling) and in discoloration of the tooth in which they are placed or the surrounding gums. Leaving aside the mercury concern, there’s the aestethic concern. I haven’t met the person who said that he/she liked the look of their tooth with tha amalgam filling in it.  Also, being that they are made of fragile components, silver fillings break more easily then the white ones.

One good thing about them is that they have a long history of being used since the 19th century. But now, with all the advancements in dentistry there are better and nicer materials to be used, leaving amalgam to be used only in some specific, limited situations.

The white, porcelain filled, tooth colored fillings are the most used today. They are made of a methacrylate matrix filled with very fine porcelain particles accounting for approximately 80% of the filling’s content. They are placed in the tooth when they have a creamy consistency, in this way allowing the dentist to adjust the shape and form, after that they are cured with a light flow. Their advantage is that they do not release any toxic elements after they are placed in the mouth, they maintain their size and shape, they are cosmetically pleasing (most of them are not noticeable on the tooth), they can be placed in any area of the mouth (there are different kinds of materials for posterior or anterior areas), they are resistant to breaking and done well using a high quality material they can last long, long time.

The only disadvantage is that they are very technique sensitive. There are many brands of materials on the market and each of them is different from the other. Also, the composite materials require the tooth to be completely dry when placed. This is a challanging factor sometimes considering that the mouth is a very wet environment from saliva and breath. This is why the dentists use a rubber dam to overcome this issue.

Please contact Sewell dentist, Dr. Pastiu, at his office, Sewell Dental Arts at 856-582-2220.
Dr. Pastiu also performs dentistry for children.

For more information see our Porcelain Tooth Fillings page.