At Smiles by Design we only restore your smile using composite resin white fillings or in some cases, ceramic fillings. Around 50% of US dentists still use amalgam (the silver colored metal fillings), according to dental industry surveys. Here are the top 5 reasons we choose to use white fillings for your teeth and why they are a better choice.
1. Metal shrinks and expands
Amalgam has a couple of weaknesses. Because it is metal, it expands and contracts a small amount with temperature changes. You might not notice it, but the small changes in size can cause small cracks in your tooth that can let bacteria in and form recurrent tooth decay. Sometimes, teeth with these amalgam-created fractures will be damaged badly enough that a root canal will be necessary before your tooth can be properly restored.
2. Composite fillings are now stronger than ever
Over the years, white composite fillings have become stronger and more durable. When first introduced several decades ago, composite fillings were too weak to be used in rear teeth. Now, the majority of composite fillings are actually placed in the rear teeth. Research studies can’t accurately provide an estimate for how long composite fillings will last now, because the composites and techniques for placing them 10 years ago were not nearly as advanced as they are now. So while they are not considered as strong as amalgam, white fillings are much closer in longevity than they once were.
Because the material is not metal, it helps greatly reduce the chances that your filling will cause long-term sensitivity.
4. Keep more of your teeth
Filling a cavity with a composite resin in many cases allows us to remove less of your natural tooth than using amalgam would. Composite resin bonds with your tooth better, so it doesn’t need as much surface area to “hold onto” as amalgam fillings. This allows you to keep more of your natural tooth material, which is generally always the best option.
5. They look better
The most obvious benefit of using white composite fillings is that the white color helps the fillings blend in to your teeth, so they are not obvious when you talk or laugh. They are also a great balance in terms of looks and cost for filling materials. While some insurance companies won’t pay for tooth-colored fillings in rear teeth, the cost is only a little higher for white fillings. Those few extra dollars don’t compare with the value of having a great looking smile for many years into the future.