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Difference Between White Fillings and Silver Fillings

White Fillings vs  Silver Fillings

Dental fillings, also known as dental restorations, are used to restore the function, integrity, and morphology of a missing tooth structure that usually resulted from caries or external trauma. Dental restorations can be divided into two types, direct restorations and indirect restorations.

Direct restoration is known as a method wherein a soft filling is placed in the prepared tooth and then strengthening that tooth prior to the hardening of the filling material. Meanwhile, indirect restoration is about mimicking restoration outside one’s mouth through dental impressions. This is often performed through two visits to one’s dentist. Direct restorations usually use one out of the two most popular materials, white filling or silver filling.

White filling is also known as dental composite, and silver filling is also known as silver amalgam. White fillings are a mixture of powdered glass and plastic resin, and can be made to resemble the appearance of the natural tooth. They are strong, durable, and cosmetically superior because they look natural and may not even be visible except when thoroughly inspected.

The silver filling is a metallic, filling material, composed of mercury (43 percent to 54 percent) and powdered-form alloy mostly made of tin, copper, zinc, and silver. They are still used in many places worldwide, because of their strength and they last longer. However, the metallic color is not cosmetically pleasing, and tooth colored alternatives are more commonly produced as years pass. Additionally, with the toxicity of mercury, controversy arose on the use of silver fillings and their effects in health and safety of dental patients.

Silver fillings are generally less expensive than white fillings. White fillings also take 60% longer to perform, and requires special expertise and expensive materials. They are also more difficult to place and polish. That is why they are more expensive than silver fillings. Silver fillings can be placed by dentists who do not need to receive extra training, while those who perform white fillings should learn the special bonding technology that it requires.

Because white fillings are bonded to the teeth, unlike in silver fillings, there is no need for the dentist to create retentive features destroying healthy tooth. White fillings also restore mostly the original sturdiness of the teeth. Unfortunately, white fillings do not last as long as silver fillings. But, although the silver filling itself is stronger than the material used in white filling, silver tends to weaken the teeth and making them prone to breaking.

While restoring broken teeth is more expensive, in the long run, white fillings, eventually, can save patients some money. White fillings also require less structure of the teeth to be removed. The sizable amount of hole made for white filling may be adjusted to make it smaller than one for a silver filling.

White filling use also requires for the site to be totally free of saliva while being set. For this reason, it is difficult to set it on teeth, especially to molars which are located at the back of the mouth. The silver filling does not need the isolation of a site from saliva when being placed. When correct techniques are used in the restoration process, white fillings are also less sensitive to hot and cold than teeth restored with silver fillings.

Due to the increasing global awareness and protectiveness of nature, it has also been brought into discussion that silver fillings contribute largely to water contamination and environmental damage by mercury, especially as its use by dentists goes largely. The World Health Organization has reported that over half of the total mercury emissions are caused by the mercury from amalgam and laboratory devices.


· White fillings’ mixture can be made to resemble the appearance of the natural tooth, while the silver fillings are in stark contrast to the whiteness of the teeth.

· White fillings are deemed safer than silver ones because white fillings do not contain any mercury.

· White fillings can only be performed by specially trained dentists, while silver fillings do not require any special type of training.

· White fillings are expensive compared to silver fillings, but they are also less invasive when it comes to tooth preparation. However, they are harder to place than silver fillings.

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  1. I was 52 years old and I had a massive stroke in 1999. I’m 62. I couldn’t speak, completely aphasic, and I couldn’t walk; confined to a wheelchair and five hospitals. Nothing clicks. It’s a profound, hopelessly, bleak situation and no way out. It’s tabula rasa; it’s a blank slate.

    I’m not a physician, or a dentist, or a science guy. That said, here’s my events about the stroke and mercury fillings. I obtained medical records 10 years ago. I suffered from funky foul breath and a metallic taste; paralyzing fear all the time, constantly; excessive sweating, and palpitations so heart-stopping, so violent and volatile, for 20 years.

    Mercury is toxic beyond belief. The physicians and dentists need to talk to each other.


    Read my blog. 20 pages.
    and How to Stroke Out with Mercury Fillings (FireHow.com) It’s an amended version. Three pages.

    Thank you.

  2. To be thorough, and non-biased, there should be a more elaborate discussion of the components of dental composite. There are over a dozen known carcinogens in composite, as well as formaldehyde and bisphenol A, which imitates estrogen and has been removed for baby bottles, etc. Claims that composites strengthen teeth and amalgams lead to broken teeth/fractures are not supported by current literature.

  3. Thank you for sharing this information regarding the differences between white and silver fillings. It is important to know the pros and cons to each and discuss your options with a trusted dentist. That said, I typically recommend getting composite fillings. They are more durable and natural looking silver fillings. If you need a cavity filled, or have any other kind of tooth trouble, make sure you look for a local dentist that is trustworthy and reliable. Thanks again for sharing!

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