White vs. Silver Fillings: Which One is Right for You?

In the vast history of dentistry, silver amalgam fillings have often been used in the treatment of caries (cavities), and have certainly served their purpose over time.

However, in recent years white (or “tooth colored”) fillings have increased in popularity, primarily because unlike a metal filling, white fillings actually blend in perfectly with your natural teeth.

In this article, we’re going to cover some of the primary differences between silver and amalgam fillings, and also share with you why we believe white fillings made of a composite material are the best choice for the majority of patients.


Silver fillings

Before the invention and accepted use of composite fillings, silver fillings were by far the most common choice for treating tooth decay. In actuality, the filling often isn’t pure silver; rather it is a mixture of copper, silver, tin, and mercury.

As you can imagine, many patients do not like the idea of having a filling that is partially comprised of mercury, and thus prefer composite fillings. That being said, the FDA conducted extensive research on the use of amalgam fillings, and suggested they are safe for adults and children over the age of 6.

To read more about this study done by the FDA click here.

Even if there are no health risks regarding the use of amalgam fillings, there are many practical reasons that dental offices (including our own) have switched to using composite filling material almost exclusively.

Here are a few of them:

  • Amalgam fillings may not work well if a cavity is too small. Although this sounds counterintuitive, there needs to be enough metal filling to provide the strength required to properly treat the cavity.
  • Over time, amalgam fillings can actually give your entire tooth a dull gray color.
  • Perhaps most obviously, amalgam fillings do not look like your natural teeth as composite “white” fillings do.

White fillings — A better choice:

At Longleaf Dental, we’ve found that there simply isn’t a good reason to use amalgam fillings anymore, and the majority of patients prefer to have composite fillings that look natural and blend in well with the color of your teeth.

Here are a few benefits of composite, natural-looking fillings:

  • Composite fillings use clear bonding to adhere to the tooth. This means that the mechanism used to ensure proper bonding is nearly invisible.
  • Since composite fillings closely mimic the color of natural teeth, it will not be obvious to others that you have a filling. Many people who have multiple cavities are quite embarrassed, so this is a fantastic solution to solve that problem.
  • Unlike amalgam fillings, tooth-colored composite fillings can be used to successfully treat even the smallest of cavities.

As you can see, fillings that perfectly match your natural tooth color are the best solution!


Are you ready to smile and laugh with confidence?

If you have a cavity that needs to be filled and you live in or around the Albany, GA area, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule your appointment. We will match the filling material so that it is identical to your natural tooth color– no one will ever know you have a filling!

To schedule your appointment for a filling, dental cleaning, or any other procedure, call our office today.