Pros & Cons Of White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings

white or silver fillings

Most people have had to deal with at least one cavity at some point in their lives. Even the best oral hygiene habits don’t necessarily prevent cavities 100% of the time – things like genetics and age play a factor, too. (Of course, proper brushing and flossing do help prevent cavities so please keep these habits!)

Cavities can happen at any age, even children can get them. If you are told you have a cavity, you may or may not get a choice on what type of filling you receive. The two most common types are white fillings and silver fillings – each has their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at each.

White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings

White Fillings

White fillings can also be called dental composite and they are the tooth-coloured resins used to fill cavities. This composite resin is made of a blend of plastics and fillers such as silica and dimethylglyoxime which bond with the tooth’s surface.

Pros:

  • White fillings are appealing especially because they are the same colour as the teeth and therefor basically unnoticeable.
  • Since they attach right to the tooth, patients with a broken tooth can receive a white filling to restore the tooth’s shape, which may not be an option with silver fillings.

Cons:

  • White fillings are weaker than silver fillings and might not last as long.
  • There is a higher chance of cavities reforming under the filling, called recurrent decay, with white fillings.
  • White fillings tend to be more expensive than silver fillings.

Silver Fillings

Silver-coloured fillings can also be called dental amalgams and are made of a combination of metals that can include silver, tin, copper and mercury.

Pros:

  • The material used in silver fillings hardens more quickly than white fillings so they are a quicker procedure.
  • They are more cost-effective than white fillings because of the materials and because patients spend less time in the chair.
  • Silver fillings are the more durable option, and they are better for teeth that undergo a lot of force and pressure such as molars.

Cons:

  • Silver fillings are often considered to be less attractive. Over time, they can also cause the part of the tooth surrounding the filling to turn dull and grey.
  • Concerns have been raised over the fact that there is mercury in fillings, and people worry that it can get into the bloodstream. While studies have shown that there is no risk to your health and that people already have an accumulation of heavy metals in their system from environmental factors, patients can still be concerned.

Final Word On White & Silver Fillings

Whichever way you choose to go, the most important thing is that you visit the dentist regularly and have proper checkups and cleaning, as well as keep up with your home program of brushing and flossing. If you do happen to have a cavity, don’t worry! Most people have been in this situation before, and it’s a relatively easy fix, especially if you catch it early.

Both white fillings and silver fillings will do the trick, but what appeals to you most will depend on your concerns and personal preference. The best thing to do is to talk to your dentist about which is right for you or for your children.