Dental Fillings: Amalgam Vs Composite
Here at Hidden Valley Smiles, patients are all the time asking us about the difference between silver fillings or amalgams as they’re known versus the newer kinds of fillings called composite. There’s been a lot of controversy over the years and a lot of people think that the mercury that’s contained in silver fillings causes a lot of health issues and there’s just a long list of things that they say the mercury contributes to. There is no scientific data that backs those claims up, however, we don’t use amalgam in our office anymore for a number of other reasons. Not so much because of the fear of mercury, although that is just sort of icing on the cake but traditionally the history of composite restorations is that they were normally used on anterior teeth in the front which are teeth that don’t take the same amount of force as back teeth do and the reason why they weren’t used in posterior teeth is that they didn’t hold up as well. As with everything else in science, the materials have improved and now the wear coefficients of composites are almost identical and sometimes even better than traditional amalgams. So, why would you put a silver filling in a tooth that you could put a white filling in?
This is an example of a case that we did a few years ago where we took out two amalgam restorations that were on back teeth and we replaced them with white fillings. This is what most cases like this would look like. We don’t necessarily encourage people to take out silver fillings just because they’re silver, although we have patients that ask us to do that and we’re happy to oblige that request but just keep in mind any time that you go messing with the tooth, even though you’re trying to make things better for the tooth, whether it’s the aesthetics or something else you do run a certain risk of creating a situation where the tooth may not like what you’re doing and the nerve could die or something like that. But we’ll always let you know if there’s a clinical reason why you should replace the filling and we’ll also make sure that you always know of the risk associated with replacing a filling that otherwise is a good filling