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If You Don’t Want Silver, You Have Choices
Dental amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings because of their silver-like appearance, have been used for more than 150 years to fill cavities. However, the silver appearance can distract from a beautiful smile. Composite resin is the most common alternative restorative material for the replacement of dental amalgam and requires minimal removal of healthy tooth structure for placement. The color of composite can be customized to closely match your surrounding teeth.
Some amalgam fillings can last 20 years, but the seal between the filling and the tooth can get opened, leading to decay and therefore requiring replacement. The main advantages of a direct tooth-colored composite filling over metallic materials such as amalgam are minimal tooth structure removal and improved esthetics. Composites come in a variety of tooth colors, allowing for an indistinguishable result. These materials are bonded into the tooth, which strengthens the tooth structure. It is important to know that the composite fillings wear from chewing, grinding, and clenching and can require resurfacing or replacement. Your dentist should routinely check your existing fillings for surface wear.