- Is it true that Silver fillings are stronger than White fillings?
This is true, but as silver fillings dont bond to the teeth, they dont actually strengthen your teeth. White fillings chemically bond to your teeth, lending their strength and support to the damaged tooth. How long the filling lasts depends a lot on where it is in your mouth
- Why does my dentist want me to replace my old fillings with white fillings?
As fillings age the edge where the filling meets the teeth can wear and chip. This breaks the seal around the filling and food and bacteria can get into the gap. As you can't get under the filling to clean it can lead to bad decay. Decay under the metal filling is often hidden from xrays. Often the first thing you know about it is when you experience pain. Your dentist will want to replace the filling as soon as that protective seal goes.
- White fillings are more expensive, why does my dentist want me to change to white fillings?
White fillings bond to the teeth, so your dentist can replace old filling without damaging your tooth further. As the filling bonds to your tooth it will strengthen the weakened tooth as well. Silver fillings don't flex with the tooth, so you are more likely experience a cracked tooth with an amalgam filling. White fillings are more expensive because they are more technically demanding, and therefore take longer to do.
- Are mercury fillings dangerous?
The use of mercury in silver amalgam fillings has been well tested over the years. Although the health risks are unproven, we know that some patients can be concerned over any future health risks that may come to light. If a patient prefers not to have any amalgam fillings, our dentists will accommodate them.
We can remove your old mercury based fillings safely and replace them with a suitable alternative which will also be more cosmetically pleasing. If you have a full mouth full of fillings you want replaced, it may take a few visits to replace them all. In the photographs below you can see a purple sheet which is used to prevent the patient from absorbing mercury released when fillings are removed.
- What are white fillings made of?
There are 3 main types of material used.
Composite - the standard type. Strong but not as hard wearing as amalgam fillings
Glass isonomer -weaker than composite suitable for baby teeth
Porcelain inlays - can be hard wearing and long lasting but also more expensive than the other types of filling. You can find out more about porcelain here
Your dentist will discuss which type of filling best suits your needs