We offer both amalgam (silver colored) fillings as well as composite resin (tooth colored) fillings. Both types have advantages and drawbacks. Both filling types are accepted by the ADA and FDA as “safe” to use in humans.
Amalgam (silver colored) fillings contain mercury and are the oldest filling material we have. They are generally considered to be the more durable filling material of the two types. Many adults still have them present in their teeth from when they were a child. This stems from its simplicity to place: the decay is removed, creating a small “hole” in the tooth, and the hole is then packed with the filling and adjusted to fit. Many people do not wish to have these today though, as 1.) they are visible in the tooth and 2.) they contain mercury. Mercury is considered to be toxic to humans, but numerous research articles and studies cite that even though a minuscule amount of the mercury can leach out of the filling over time, it has never been linked to any disease or adverse conditions. Mercury content IS a concern when drilling out old amalgam fillings as drilling it can turn it into an aerosol, making it easy to breathe in. While again this seems like a valid concern, but most people’s fillings do not ALL fail at the same time, requiring removal at the same time. So any amount inhaled by the patient is minimal, and made more minimal with the use of high volume suction during the procedure. It is actually much more dangerous for the Doctor and his/her Assistant as they can be around this exposure all day.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite Resin (tooth colored or ‘white’) fillings are essentially plastics, containing types of long chain polymer(s). They are MUCH more cosmetic looking than the amalgam (silver) fillings and many people choose them for this reason. They CAN last as long as the amalgam (silver) fillings, but unfortunately do not have the same track record. This stems from the procedure to place them into the tooth requires more steps. Each of these steps has a degree of precision required and as we all know, the more complicated something is, the more possible failure points it has. As far as toxicity is concerned, most of these composite resins up until recently contained BPA (Bis phenol A) or a material similar to BPA called Teg-DMA. Studies show concern over these materials, however, according to the ADA and FDA, these materials, along with the amalgams, are considered safe for humans.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and Onlays are types of fillings that can be made from porcelain by a dental laboratory. They create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations would be considered much stronger than the traditional amalgam or composite resin fillings. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies. They may however require pre-authorization with your dental insurance and require at least 2 visits to complete.