White Fillings versus Metal Fillings
General Dentist and Cosmetic Dental Services in Edmonton, Alberta
Posted: October 22, 2012
If you have tooth decay, you have an option about how to fill that decay. You can choose between white or tooth-colored fillings and metal fillings. White fillings are a kind of composite plastic material with ceramic strengtheners added to improve durability. Metal fillings are also known as amalgam fillings because they are an amalgamation of many different kinds of metal, including silver and zinc, but also mercury.Most dentists are moving away from metal amalgam fillings because of the superior properties of the white fillings.
An important benefit is that white filling material creates a better seal with the tooth because the composite material bonds directly to the tooth. White filling may also reduce thermal problems associated with metal fillings. Metal conducts heat and cold better than the composite, so it may cause more tooth sensitivity. It also tends to expand and contract more with temperature changes and therefore may be more likely to create thermal stress in the dental enamel. Composite fillings have about the same thermal variability as dental enamel.
Another distinction between white fillings and metal fillings is the potential toxicity of the mercury in dental amalgam. Mercury is a known neurotoxin, but the evidence about the potential effects of dental mercury is not conclusive. Mercury is known to migrate through dental enamel into areas where there are blood vessels, and it is a bioaccumulant—it builds up in the body–so metal fillings may be more risky for people who are exposed to other sources of mercury, such as people who eat a great deal of fish.
The most obvious and indisputable benefit of white fillings is that they are so much more aesthetic than metal fillings. Metal fillings are not only highly visible from the beginning, but they also can blacken with oxidation, making them look even less attractive.
Because of all the benefits, we only offer white fillings at Focus on Smiles. To learn more about this type of filling, please contact Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko at Focus on Smiles in Edmonton, Alberta for a consultation today.