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Silver Fillings vs. Tooth-Colored Fillings

added on: May 23, 2017
little boy receiving dental filling

Your child goes in for his routine cleaning and exam and his pediatric dentist in Long Island ends up finding a cavity that needs a filling (oh, no!). Now you’re faced with a decision — restore the tooth with a silver metal filling, or a tooth-colored composite on? It will probably help to understand the difference between the two first. We’re here to do just that.

Understanding Each Type of Filling

Before we dive into the pros and cons of both silver and tooth-colored fillings, let’s talk a bit about what’s in each type. Silver fillings are also known as amalgam fillings and are made from a mixture of silver (hence the color), tin, copper, and mercury. Tooth-colored fillings, or composite fillings, are made from ceramic and plastic resins that can be color-matched to other teeth.

Compare the Pros

While our pediatric dental office in Long Island prefers using composite fillings, there are a few benefits to both kinds of restorations.

Amalgam – Silver-colored fillings are incredibly strong and are sometimes preferred for back teeth. These fillings also tend to be less expensive than their tooth-colored counterparts.

Composite – Other than the obvious positive of basically being camouflaged in the mouth, composite fillings are also pretty strong. Additionally, the procedure for a composite filling requires less drilling.

Check out the Cons

Just as each option has positives, they both have some negatives that are worth mentioning so you can choose the best solution for your child.

Amalgam – The most commonly talked about negative with amalgam fillings is the color. They’re easily seen in the mouth and can create a smile that appears dark. In addition, the mercury component has been in the limelight lately. Despite the fact that agencies including the FDA, CDA, and WHO have found no evidence of harm, there continues to be concerns about its safety.

Composite – Tooth-colored fillings are typically more expensive than a silver filling because of both the materials used as well as the time it takes to complete the restoration. There’s also a higher chance of these fillings needing replacement earlier than amalgam.

If it’s been awhile since your child has been to the dentist, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment today, especially if you suspect a cavity. Accepting patients from all areas of Long Island.