Metal Free Fillings

Metal-Free Fillings

cavity filled with metal-free fillingsSilver has been the popular choice for many years, but now concerns are beginning to build about the health and safety concerns of these fillings as silver fillings may contain mercury. If you have old metal fillings that are 20 years old and older or are dealing with problems originating from your old fillings, you will want to consider replacing them with a non-amalgam filling option. There are terrific filling options now available that have fewer side effects and offer more flexibility for maintaining a great looking and healthy smile.

Here is a simple break down comparison of filling options.

Advantages Of Silver Based Fillings:

  • Durability – These fillings are good for 15+ years without maintenance and can generally take more abuse than other composite filling options.
  • Strength – Easily withstands common chewing forces (they are still often used in molar and back teeth filling needs because of this).
  • Expense – Silver fillings are far less expensive than non-metal composite fillings and are also more often covered under insurance plans.

Disadvantages Of Silver Based Fillings:

  • Bad aesthetics – There is no way to match the natural color of teeth.
  • Tooth Damage – Silver filling material is applied in larger than normal amounts so they stick properly. This often requires more of the healthy part of a tooth to be drilled out, thus weakening the tooth.
  • Discoloration – These fillings will often give the tooth a grayish hue.
  • Fractures or cracks – Teeth are more likely to crack and break over time because the natural swelling and shrinking of the tooth is inhibited by the metal fillings.
  • Allergic reactions – Some people are allergic to silver and there is growing concern over the safety of the mercury concentration in these old metal fillings.

Advantages Of Composite Fillings:

  • Aesthetics – The shade, color, look, and feel of natural teeth can be maintained.
  • Bonding – Composite fillings will bond to the tooth itself so small amounts can be used.
  • Versatility – Non-metal composite fillings can be used to fill teeth and can also be used to repair chipped and broken teeth.
  • Tooth-sparing preparation – Oftentimes less tooth structure is lost with non-metal fillings because the composite bonds more easily and requires less tooth area to be removed.

Disadvantages Of Composite Fillings:

  • Lack of durability – These fillings do not last as long as metal-based fillings.
  • Additional visits – If the composite route is the right choice for a patient’s dental work, it often takes several visits to finish the application.
  • Chipping – Depending on which tooth or teeth it is used on, composite materials may also chip more easily.

To learn more about metal-free fillings or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 503-635-4500 or fill out our contact form!