Though certainly not always true in other areas of life, in the case of white fillings what looks the best actually is the best treatment choice. Most people won’t argue that white fillings look much, much better than dark amalgam fillings. What they may not know is that the placement of white fillings yields a stronger, more stable tooth than amalgam fillings.
Advantages of White Fillings
There are several advantages white fillings offer over amalgam:
- Though the material of old-fashioned amalgam fillings is stronger than the composite material used in white fillings, the composite material actually bonds to the tooth, which makes the entire structure stronger and more stable. Amalgam actually weakens the tooth, making it susceptible to cracking later on.
- The composite material does not conduct heat and cold like the metal of the amalgam material does, making it a lot gentler on your teeth. Anyone who has ever had a big bite of ice cream hit an amalgam filling knows exactly how uncomfortable that can be.
- The placement of an amalgam filling requires less removal of the natural tooth. The pictures to the right illustrate the difference between the preparations necessary for white fillings versus amalgam fillings. The tooth on the top had a relatively small cavity, but all susceptible surfaces had to be drilled away. In contrast, the preparation for a white filling (below) only requires that the decay be drilled away, resulting in a much smaller affected area.
- This may be overstating the obvious, but they are much more attractive, and they don’t leave any kind of metallic taste in your mouth, like amalgams can.