When deciding what type of filling you want in your mouth there are several things to consider, such as where the filling is located and why it is needed.  You and your dentist should decide together.  We feel both Amalgam (silver) and Composite (tooth-colored) are good options.Amalgam (silver)Pros:
  • Very strong and durable
  • Highly resistant to wear
  • Long-lasting
  • Inexpensive
  • May inhibit bacterial activity around it
  • “Tried and True”
  • Not as cosmetically pleasing as Composites
  • Transmits hot and cold readily, usually causing short-term sensitivity
  • Could expand or contract over time, which could cause tooth to crack
  • May leak trace amount of mercury vapor, which has not been proven to be harmful (see below)
Is Amalgam Safe?
Many studies have been conducted worldwide showing that if amalgam is mixed properly, the mercury vapor leaking over time within the mouth is well within safe limits and has not demonstrated any health consequences.  Bodily intake of mercury can often be much greater from eating fish or shellfish than from leaking amalgam.According to major U.S. and international scientific and health organizations – including the American Dental Association, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute Committee on Excellence, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization – dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.Composite (tooth colored) Pros:
  • Highly cosmetic
  • Can bond filling to tooth
  • More conservative preparation
  • Not suitable for large cavities
  • Generally shorter life span than amalgam
  • Not as strong
  • Condition of mouth may determine success of procedure
  • Very slight shrinkage from the tooth on setting, which could cause a minute space between the filling and the tooth, possibly resulting in failure
  • Not recommended for certain areas
  • Much more expensive and many insurance companies will not cover the extra expense
  • Possible postoperative sensitivity
  • Not suitable for restorations where a heavy bite is found
  • Premature deterioration when exposed to excessive daily alcohol consumption
  • Polymer degradation, resulting in the release of formaldehyde over time, which has not been proven to be harmful