Types of Fillings
There are two main types of fillings available to you, the patient. Both have benefits and downsides that are listed in the discussion below.
Amalgam fillings (or silver fillings as they are more often called) are metallic fillings made from silver and mercury, among other metals. This is the oldest and most trusted filling material that we currently use. It has a long reputation of success in the mouth with many of these fillings lasting three or four decades before the wear out. The big worry in recent years comes from the mercury that is used in these fillings. Study after study done from the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association, on both children and adults with amalgam fillings, have never shown them to be more harmful than eating the recommended amount of fish and seafood recommended to maintain a balanced diet. Such a great lack of evidence of potential danger is why these fillings have maintained their popularity in modern dentistry as a long lasting and durable restoration.
Tooth Colored Fillings
Tooth colored fillings are acrylic resin fillings that are placed in your mouth while they are in a putty consistency and then light cured to make them hard and durable. These fillings are getting better all the time and will eventually replace all other fillings as the material of choice for all dentists. As it stands, these fillings offer patients a very desirable look (as they match the tooth) and longevity that can rival other filling material types. These fillings require excellent home care in order to keep their pristine appearance and bond to the tooth. They are slightly weaker than an amalgam filling simply because they are susceptible to forces that may serve to break the glue “bond” between the tooth and the filling material (amalgam fillings do not use a “glue” to hold them in place and are not “de-bonded” form the tooth as easily). If the bond breaks between the tooth and the filling, bacteria can get in between and cause a cavity resulting in the need for a new filling. The ever increasing strength of these materials mixed with their dead-on color matching ability is why they are the top choice of dentists and patient’s alike.