The big debate has always been amalgam versus white fillings. Which are better? From the patient’s point of view there is no contest, white is best. White fillings are functional and natural blending in with aesthetically pleasing results. Amalgam fillings are unsightly and show when you smile and laugh. They darken with age and stain the teeth. From the dentist’s point of view, amalgams are easier to place, more tolerant of moisture when placing a filling and probably last longer, but there has always been some doubt about their safety. The new white fillings today are much improved and with the new light curing techniques, can be fully set within a matter of 40 seconds, giving excellent results.
What are White Fillings?
They are a mixture of glass particles in a synthetic resin with a setting ingredient, and are available in a range of colours and hardness. When they are dispensed, they remain soft and workable until the light is shone on the filling, then they harden within a few seconds. With all the colour choices you can match the filling to any tooth.
What is Amalgam?
Amalgam is a mixture of mercury and fine alloy particles including silver, copper and zinc. It is a metal and is only available in silver colour. It is its mercury content which causes concern (mercury is a poison), and although it is still deemed safe, in most countries many dentists are reluctant to use it today.
Today’s white fillings are so good and easy to work with that there is no reason to choose amalgam any more, and from my own personal experience here on the Costa del Sol, not one single patient has requested an amalgam filling since I moved here 2 years ago. White fillings are so versatile that you can repair chipped teeth, reshape unsightly teeth, close gaps between teeth, fill in receding margins and mask over enamel staining. Most of these treatments can be done without an injection or any drilling as you can bond white fillings to enamel.
So yes, white really is best, but before you go and have all your amalgams replaced tomorrow, consider doing it in stages as the fillings need replacing and then you can smile and laugh again with confidence.