Dental fillings are used to restore small defects in teeth where most of the tooth is still intact and has strength. The most traditional treatment has been the use of silver amalgams, however over the last decade, composite (white) fillings have gained popularity. It is not uncommon to find silver fillings which have lasted for 20 years.
Composite resins are tooth colored, plastic materials (made of glass and resin) that are used both as fillings and to repair defects in the teeth. Because they are tooth-colored, it is difficult to distinguish them from natural teeth. Composites are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than amalgam fillings.
Silver (Amalgam) Fillings
Dental amalgam (silver filling) is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.