White fillings vs. Silver fillings

There is still a lot of confusion out there as to which type of dental fillings a patient should choose, white fillings or silver fillings? This might one of the most contested topics in dentistry by a long shot. It’s a topic that’s easy to exaggerate. When a local news program is having a slow day, they whip out the old “Mercury Fillings” story and play it again.  Due to the great interest in this topic, it has received a lot of attention from researchers, who’ve studied this subject over and over again.

White fillings and silver fillings are both foreign substances which are being placed in our bodies; therefore, there will be positives and negatives of both.  White fillings are really silicone resin fillings – essentially resin with ground glass particles.  Silver fillings are mostly silver, with small amounts of copper and tin, and yes, a very small amount of mercury.

Advantages for white fillings:

  • Esthetics; they look just like your real teeth
  • Do not have any mercury in them

Disadvantages for white fillings:

  • More technique-sensitive to place
  • Transient sensitivity to cold
  • Generally cost more

Advantages for silver fillings:

  • Extremely durable
  • Less expensive

Disadvantages for silver fillings:

  • Unattractive
  • Contain mercury

The mercury in the silver fillings bonds to the silver and tin once it’s been placed in the tooth.  The mercury can’t escape, even when the old filling is removed.  To date, research hasn’t shown any link between the mercury in the fillings to any other health issues.  In fact, you get more mercury in your body by eating fish than you do from silver fillings.

Our philosophy at Wyte Smiles is to offer you what you want.  Depending on the situation, one material is better than another. But as the patient, you make the big decision!  I’ll do the best I can to discuss all the alternatives and help you make an informed decision.