White or composite fillings have all but replaced silver amalgam as the standard tooth fillings. Even though composite has a slightly lower durability than silver amalgam, it is durable enough and has the added bonus of being the more attractive option. Indeed, the reason why composite is popular is due to them being tooth-coloured and natural looking.
But are composite fillings the safer tooth fillings? What are the other benefits of getting white fillings instead of silver amalgam?
Safer than amalgam
Composite dental fillings are widely lauded as the more natural and aesthetically pleasing alternative to silver amalgam and other ‘standard’ fillings. But did you know that they are also safer to ‘wear’ than metal fillings? It is a widely known fact that silver amalgam fillings contain a small trace of mercury so that the metal itself becomes pliable.
While small traces of mercury is not exactly deadly; mercury, after all, is already present in our bodies, it does pose a danger when the silver amalgam fillings start deteriorating. For a long time, it was thought that mercury in composite fillings was inert and safe, but trace amounts of vapour actually escape the dental amalgam when it starts breaking down.
The actual response to the vapour depends, but generally, inflammation can occur in the gums and sometimes the vapour escapes into the body. Most people go on with their lives not knowing that the trace amounts of mercury escaping as vapour in their teeth are what is making them sick.
Composite fillings are made of tooth-coloured resin that is made of a composite of glass and plastics. They do not contain any mercury or harmful metals, making them the safer option. Even when they do get worn down, they do not release any life-threatening chemicals into your gums or body.
Should you replace your silver fillings?
Most dental practitioners, although they recommend getting composite, do not exactly recommend getting your amalgam fillings replaced immediately. Even though white fillings are safer, if the silver is still holding up well, there is no need to replace them.
Should you opt to have your silver fillings removed, it is suggested that you let your dentist do it for you. Most people think they can simply remove their silver fillings by themselves. This is very dangerous since removing them without proper applications will release the mercury within the amalgam. Dental practitioners have a standard and completely safe way to remove these without the vapour escaping.
Composite is the safer choice for dental fillings. Not only that, they are aesthetically pleasing and mimic the appearance of your natural teeth. If you are looking to replace your amalgam fillings, composite white is the ideal choice.