Tooth Colored Fillings

For centuries, silver fillings (called amalgam) have been used in dentistry. Dentists considered them the standard of care for a long time, and it wasn’t until recently that we had an alternative.

Now, the vast majority of dentists place white, tooth-colored fillings (called composite) in lieu of amalgam. Obviously they look much better than their silver counterparts, but they also overcome other issues that amalgam presents.

What Are the Problems With Silver Fillings?

Amalgam is a strong material that can last a long time in your mouth. Over time, though, amalgam fillings break down and corrode. Older fillings can develop a gap between the filling and tooth, allowing bacteria to leak in.

Amalgams also contract and expand at a different rate than your tooth structure, which can lead to cracks. These cracks become larger and larger until a catastrophic break occurs. Unfortunately, this breakage can happen in such a way that the tooth is not fixable.

Dr. Shiflett uses high magnification and bright lights to check for and monitor these cracks, doing all he can to prevent this. Our team will alert you if they see cracks in your teeth and will recommend treatment, often a crown, to help prevent tooth loss if necessary.

The most apparent downfall of amalgam fillings is their appearance. They are silver and can stain the surrounding tooth structure and soft tissue. While Dr. Shiflett does not recommend replacing amalgam fillings simply due to their color, he will be more than happy to discuss your options if cosmetics are a concern.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings

White, tooth-colored fillings (composite) offer several advantages over amalgam. Composites come in numerous shades and colors, allowing us to get a match for your teeth. The team at Shiflett Family Dental can even place composites on your front teeth that your friends and family won’t notice!

Silver fillings expand and are held in by the shape the dentist creates when he prepares the tooth. White fillings are held in by a dental adhesive, allowing Dr. Shiflett to conserve more of your natural tooth structure. Since they do not contract and expand as much as amalgams, they do not have the same issues with cracks and breakage.

Recently, there has been some controversy over the mercury content in amalgam fillings. While Dr. Shiflett does not remove silver fillings based on this debate, he does not place new amalgam fillings either.

The team at Shiflett Family Dental is experienced in placing beautiful composite fillings in Columbus, OH, and dedicated to staying on the forefront of dental technology. We take your oral health very seriously and are happy to answer any questions you have.

Call today to learn more about composite fillings in Columbus, OH, or to schedule a dental cleaning.