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Even if you practice excellent dental hygiene, you may end up with a cavity. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, around 92 percent of all adults ages 20-64 have had at least one cavity. When cavities appear, it is essential to seek dental care to avoid more serious problems.

Once you do, you and your dentist will then be faced with the choice of white vs. silver fillings. Both have advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Difference Between a White or Silver Tooth Filling?

Used since 1895, a silver tooth filling, technically called an amalgam filling, is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Mercury, which makes up about 50 percent of the compound, delivers a strong, durable solution by binding the metals together. When combined with the other metals, the mercury forms a safe, stable compound.

White fillings, called resin composite fillings, are made of a ceramic and plastic compound. Because resin mimics the appearance of natural teeth, these fillings blend right in.

White vs. Silver Fillings: Pros and Cons

Pros of While Fillings

  • Invisible: Because this tooth filling is the same color as your teeth, it blends in.
  • Easy adhesion: Resin composite bonds to the tooth surface.
  • Preserves more of the tooth: The flexibility of resin composite means less drilling.

Cons of White Fillings

  • More frequent replacement: Resin composite fillings last five to seven years, which is half the lifetime of a silver filling.
  • Longer procedure: The process of placing a resin filling is more involved and time-consuming.

Pros of Silver Fillings

  • Proven: Silver fillings have been used for over a century.
  • Economical: Silver generally costs less than white fillings.
  • Long-lasting: Last 10 to 15 years, so you don’t have to go under the drill as often.

Cons of Silver Fillings

  • Noticeable: Metal fillings are hard to miss when you open wide.
  • Allergies issues: Some people are sensitive to the metals in amalgam.

If you have a cavity, your dentist will discuss these options with you with a more personalized approach. Either way, you will have a safe, trusted solution that helps prevent future oral issues. Contact Jeffrey S. Thaller DMD and we’ll take care of all your concerns.