Many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years and decades past, but it still has a place in dentistry. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings can result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but can also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Disadvantages of Silver Fillings:
Silver fillings have some drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down or exhibit creep (deformation of a material under constant mechanical stress or strain), or become weak or break as the metal is brittle. This results between filling and tooth allows cavities to get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can crack.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.
Advantages of Silver Fillings:
Silver fillings can be used where access/isolation is difficult. Under crown margins, below gum level, and areas with difficult moisture control are indications for silver fillings. Although mercury vapors are expressed when placing and removing, high speed evacuation and amalgam traps are used to control and minimize these vapors.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and can charge with fluoride when brushing daily, then gradually discharge that same fluoride hours later which is healthy for keeping hard and dense supporting tooth structure.
The result is a beautiful smile!