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Silver vs. Composite Fillings

silver vs composite fillings
Posted on: April 18th, 2024 by | No Comments

Have you ever wondered about the difference between silver and composite fillings? These two types of fillings, as well as the occasional gold filling, have been used by dentists to fill cavities for decades. Both are durable, safe, and affordable, but have different advantages and disadvantages. Take a moment to learn more about dental fillings and when to choose silver or composite.


Composite Fillings

Composite resin fillings have become the standard for filling small- to medium-sized cavities. The great thing about composite fillings is the fact that the dentist can match your tooth color, retaining your smile’s natural white color. Even when you’re laughing, no one would be able to tell that you have fillings because composite fillings are tooth colored. The aesthetic appearance helps patients retain confidence in their smiles.


However, composite fillings are not as long-lasting as silver fillings, and they take a little more time to set. This adds to the cost. Depending on how much pressure they endure, they may need to be replaced within 10 years.


Silver Dental Fillings

Dentists have used dental amalgam, or silver fillings, for many years. Amalgam means it is a combination of metals, which in the case of dental amalgam, includes copper, mercury, silver, and tin. These materials provide a safe, affordable, and very durable filling. Silver fillings have been shown to last a lot longer than composite—sometimes, more than 20 years.


They also set quickly, making them a good choice for large fillings. This is also an advantage for patients who want to spend less time in the dentist’s chair, such as small children, individuals with special needs, or anxious patients.


The greatest disadvantage is the dark color. For this reason, silver fillings are a good choice for molars and other places where the filling won’t be noticed as much.


Contents of Dental Fillings

Both silver and composite dental filling materials are considered safe by the American Dental Association. Composite fillings are made of a combination of glass and quartz and resin. Silver fillings are a combination of inert metals.


While some people question the use of amalgam fillings and even go so far as to replace them with composite fillings, studies have shown that amalgam fillings are safe. Many health and disease organizations, from the Mayo Clinic to The Alzheimer’s Association, support the fact that amalgam fillings pose no health risk.


Choosing a Filling Option

Choosing a dental filling material can be guided by your dentist and his recommendations. Dr. Lenz and Dr. Mueller will help you choose. Most dentists fill molars with silver fillings because they can handle more bite pressure over time. Small cavities that might show can be filled with composite fillings to maintain the natural white appearance of your teeth.


Remember that the best way to prevent cavities is to take good care of your teeth. Eat vegetables, fruits, and high calcium foods, brush and floss daily with fluoride toothpaste, and keep your appointments for dental cleanings and exams. For a thorough overview of oral health, see our Guide to Oral Health, and contact us for your family dentistry appointment.