Composite vs. Silver Fillings – Which To Choose?

For 150 years silver fillings have been the primary filler used by dentists to fill cavities. This fact is understandable when you discover the positive qualities of this substance known technically as amalgam. It is strong and durable in its function of restoring and strengthening natural teeth. Silver fillings have been used so long and so often that it is usually the first image people have in their minds when fillings are discussed.

In spite of its positive aspects, amalgam is missing one key benefit. It falls short in the beauty department. Silver fillings just do not blend in with the look of your natural teeth. This is where composite resin fillings can make a big difference. Composite fillings will match the natural color of your teeth so well that no one will be able to spot the fillings. Even you will forget that the fillings are there.

In the second half of the twentieth century, composite resin made its debut in the field of dentistry. This innovation consisted of a tooth-colored plastic mixture that was filled with silicon dioxide (which is better known as glass). Early versions of the composite fillings were not strong enough to handle the pressure that back teeth produce while chewing. For this reason, composites were originally only used in restoring front teeth.

The advancement of technology has allowed recent composites to be more natural, durable, and versatile. In addition to restoring front teeth, composites are currently also used to restore small to midsize cavities and to reshape teeth that have been chipped or broken. A huge benefit with composite fillings is that more of your original tooth structure stays intact than with silver fillings.

At Santa Ana Dental Group, we have also encouraged many of our patients with old silver fillings to replace them with composite fillings. Not only is there the obvious benefit of a more aesthetically pleasing smile, but there are other benefits as well.

  • Composite fillings are typically less sensitive to extreme temperatures
  • Composite fillings are easily repaired if they are damaged
  • Composite fillings form a bond with your teeth that is far superior to the bond formed by silver fillings

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