Silver vs. White
Today, there are basically two types of filling materials; silver amalgam and tooth-colored composite.
Silver amalgam fillings have been around a long time and are extremely durable. Technique sensitivity is low so if the field you’re working in is difficult to dry or isolate this is the material of choice. The enamel is also different on primary (baby) teeth than permanent teeth, therefore, bonding material does not bond as well to the enamel on primary teeth. This makes silver amalgam the best material for primary teeth as well. Cost may also be an issue. Silver amalgams are typically lower in cost than a tooth colored filling and require no bond to the enamel.
Tooth-colored composite material is great. It looks and feels just like the enamel. Cosmetically, it’s the material of choice. Strength wise the bond to your tooth’s enamel makes it second to none. There’s less microleakage than silver amalgams and this is what causes decay under old fillings. The drawback is, the tooth-colored composite is highly technique sensitive and excellent isolation is needed to make the bonding process work correctly. Any contamination could reduce the strength of the bond, and all the advantages it has to prevent microleakage.
Both silver and amalgam and tooth-colored composite materials are excellent. They each have their advantages and limitations. To learn more please contact Dr. Dunn and his staff at