White fillings vs Mercury amalgam

Invisible white fillings vs Silver Mercury amalgam fillings.

More or less every one of us has a filling in our mouth. Some have the regular mercury amalgam fillings (the grey/silver ones) and others have composite fillings (the white ones).

A filling is a way to close the gaps created by tooth decay (caries). To make things simple we have to see what tooth decay is. Tooth decay is a disease that destroys at first the enamel of our tooth and then keeps going inwards to dentin the next layer in our teeth. Eventually, tooth decay makes its way to the pulp chamber and that is when we start to have pain symptoms – and we all know that this sort of pain is really unbearable.

Unfortunately we cannot regenerate all this tissue that tooth decay took apart. What we can do though, is to stop the disease from destroying more tooth tissue and avoid all the disease’s complications.

These complications are:

A. Complete destruction of the tooth. In this case the tooth requires a proper root canal therapy and then a full coverage crown. Otherwise if the corruption is too excessive the tooth must be extracted.

B. Tooth decay reaches the pulp (nerve). This is called pulpitis. The pain is extreme and unbearable, it becomes stronger with cold and hot streams, the pain intensifies at night and it endures for a prolonged time. In this case the tooth also needs proper root canal treatment and possibly a full coverage crown.

As you can see the consequences are extremely awful (loss of tooth, root canal therapy, full coverage crowns) and hey cost a decent amount of money as well, so it is better to avoid them by simply taking care of our teeth and visiting our dentist every six months in order to fix all the current problems that we have in our mouth and avoid further corruption of our teeth.


Tooth decay on front teeth

tooth decay on front teeth

Teeth infected with tooth decay can be easily spotted by our dentist during our regular six month visit. Even a patient can spot tooth decay if it is in a visible place on his/her teeth since our teeth are by default white. If you see black-brown spots on your teeth then that is probably a sign of tooth decay.

Teeth that have decay (caries) don’t necessarily give pain symptoms, at least not straight away. Tooth decay gives usually little pain symptoms when you are eating sweets, something cold or hot the pain is not really strong and it doesn’t last for a long time. As soon as the stimulator (sweet, cold or hot) has passed the pain goes away straight away or after two three seconds.

Many people avoid going to the dentist office because they are afraid that it will be painful. Well today we can say with certainty that pain is a thing of the past.

All procedures in dentistry today are painless. Every act in the dental office is done under proper anesthesia. You don’t even need to be afraid of the needle any more. Before the injection the gums are treated with anesthetic gel and literally you will not feel a thing during the injection. Besides today needles are so thin that you wouldn’t feel anything even without the anesthetic gel. As soon as the anesthesia takes place the dentist proceeds with the removal of all the decayed tooth tissues, and continues with the rebuilding of the tooth’s structure with the materials of his choice.

What most people don’t know is that there is no reason to prefer black/grey mercury amalgam fillings to white composites fillings any more, since today composite resin fillings are equally strong as amalgam fillings, they are more aesthetic, and most of all the actually create a chemical bond with the tooth’s tissues something that amalgam fillings cannot achieve.

Yes it is true, mercury amalgam fillings hold on to the tooth only mechanically, there is no chemical bond whatsoever to hold the filling in place. If you add up the fact that mercury amalgam fillings are metal so there is always some micro leakage since heat and cold change the metal’s volume, you can see why today more and more dentists avoid using amalgam in their practice (and as you have noticed I am one of them…). Composite resin white fillings are “glued on” to the teeth there is a strong chemical bond, it is not just a matter of holding on to the tooth mechanically as it is with mercury amalgam fillings and let’s face it there is no comparison to the aesthetic appearance of a (proper) composite resin white filling to that of a mercury amalgam filling.

More and more patients are visiting their dentist to have their mercury amalgam fillings removed. This procedure is becoming more popular due to worries about health risks associated with small amounts of mercury leaking from the amalgam over time.

Regardless of the health risks of mercury amalgam fillings, the asthetic appearance definitely is an improvement when you choose white fillings (see before and after picture below).


white fillings

The ultimate choice of material is composite resin. Technology has advanced dramatically over the years and amalgam is way back. With composites we can actually create invisible white fillings; you will not be able to see the filling on your teeth. This is the goal of today’s aesthetic dentistry, a perfect smile.


composite filling

If you are wondering whether a composite resin white filling can take the pressure since in the past everybody said that “white fillings don’t last; they can’t take the pressure on the molars”, you can rest assured. Today composite fillings are at least equally strong to amalgam if not better.

Composites are totally reliable materials and are used throughout the world. There are two groups of composite white fillings, light curable composite white fillings and chemical curable white fillings.

Chemical curable white fillings harden a few minutes after the mixing of the ingredients. This sort of composite resins are used in very few cases since they are not so easy to work with and the result is not always as good.

Light curable composites on the other hand stay soft until a special light falls on them for a certain period of time making them very flexible to use in all cases, the dentist can use many shades on one tooth to create white fillings that are indeed invisible.

Both kinds of composites have their uses. Chemical curable composites are used most of the time to create temporary crowns and bridges or when light curable composites cannot be used.
Sometimes teeth after getting a filling can be sensitive. Usually this passes in due time – say 24 hours, but if the pain continues to hold on after 48 hours you should seek your dentist’s advice. It is possible that the tooth cavity was deep enough and the tooth’s nerve could not stand the stress of the procedure.

One popular idea is to have your white fillings done before, after or during your holidays in Greece or the Greek islands.

If you want to learn more about invisible fillings, composite fillings or have any questions on the subject of invisible white fillings, please contact one of the specialist aesthetic dentists listed in our dentists directory of Greece.