Silver, Gold and Tooth-colored Fillings – What are the differences?

Depending on the location of the cavity and extent of decay, your dentist in Monkland may recommend a silver amalgam, gold or tooth-colored composite filling. Understanding the difference between the three can help you make the choice that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Silver Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings are actually a mixture of metals and have been used in dentistry for many decades. They are extremely durable and can withstand heavy chewing forces, and are often used to fill large cavities on molars. Typically they are less expensive tooth-colored composite fillings, but have a silver appearance that is not as aesthetically pleasing. The procedure to place silver fillings also requires more tooth structure to be taken away. Although there is mercury present in amalgam fillings, no studies have shown that they have an adverse effect on health. Amalgam fillings can last for 10-15 years.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are placed as inlays or onlays, and can cost up to ten times as much as amalgam fillings.  They are quite durable and can last 10-15 years; usually longer. They stand up well to heavy chewing forces, but are quite conspicuous in the mouth. Unlike amalgam and most composite resin fillings, they usually take more than one office visit to complete.

Tooth Colored Composite Fillings

These types of fillings can be closely matched with color of your natural teeth, and are particularly well suited for the front teeth and other visible areas. Composite resin material actually chemically bonds to the tooth structure; and less tooth structure usually needs to be removed than when placing amalgam fillings. Composite is can also be used to repair chipped or worn teeth. Composite fillings may wear out sooner than amalgam fillings, especially when used to repair large cavities or on teeth that endure heavy biting stress.

The best way to avoid cavities is by practicing a good oral hygiene routine and visiting your Westmount dental clinic regularly. If you have questions about which type of filling may be right for you, ask your dentist in Monkland about the advantages and drawbacks of each type.