Novato Dentist Describes Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Written by Dr. McConnell on Jul 6, 2012

In years past, metallic (amalgam) fillings were the only option available to fill a cavity and provide a stronger, restored tooth structure. These old “silver” fillings are actually a combination of metallic alloys such as mercury, silver, and others.

As advances in cosmetic dentistry have made a beautiful, bright smile accessible to everyone, many patients choose our Novato Dentist office to have these old amalgam fillings replaced. Fortunately, these patients now have more aesthetically-pleasing options when it comes to dental fillings and restorations. 

Tooth-colored composite fillings are preferable to amalgam fillings for a number of reasons. So why do patients choose tooth-colored composite fillings?

One of the top reasons patients choose to use composite fillings over amalgam is, composite fillings closely match the patient’s natural color. These tooth-colored restorations blend naturally with dental enamel as opposed to amalgam fillings that appear as dark spots on white dental enamel. In addition, amalgam fillings will eventually discolor teeth over time, causing teeth to take on a darker, bluish hue. 

Structural Integrity

Amalgam fillings are prone to “shrinking” over time. As a result, the fillings pull away from the edges of the tooth’s natural enamel. This allows bacteria to accumulate in the space formed between the filling and the natural tooth, leading to more serious dental issues which may ultimately necessitate root canal therapy. 

SIlver-mercury amalgam fillings can also act as a metal wedge over time, leading to deep fractures to the teeth. These fractures can cause the tooth to split, thereby needing an extraction. The only replacement options thereafter are bridges or implants. 

White composite fillings are incredibly popular with dental patients because they look clean and natural and they do not shrink with age like amalgam fillings. When choosing a Novato Dentist to have a recent cavity filled, or to replace old amalgam restorations, we can help you understand your options! Give us a call for more information or to schedule an appointment.