What is the difference between silver (amalgam) fillings and white (resin) fillings?
Amalgam (silver filling material) is the traditional, time tested restorative material that dentists have used for hundreds of years that is composed of varying percentages of liquid mercury and silver-tin-copper-zinc alloy powder. Shortly after it is placed in your child's tooth, the mixture self hardens and can last for many years. Advantages of amalgam restorations are that they are less expensive than composite resin filling materials, that corrosion of the metals reduces the chances of recurrent caries (cavities that form under a previously existing filling), and that the amalgam restoration is easier and faster to place in your child's tooth.
Composite resin (white tooth-colored filling material) is a mixture of powdered glass and plastic resin which self hardens or hardens with exposure to blue light. Advantages of composite resin fillings include much better esthetics (matches the color of your child's tooth), more conservative drilling of your child's tooth (less tooth structure needs to be removed), and less chance of your child's tooth fracturing because the composite resin filling is bonded to your child's tooth giving his/her tooth greater strength, actually holding your child's tooth together.
Doctor Wang, Doctor Perea-Corkish, Doctor Gerodias and the other Doctors of Discovery Pediatric Dentistry make no warranties, expressed or implied, as to any results to be obtained from use of the information on this page. We cannot diagnose or treat patients over the Internet. Information on this site is for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal, medical, and/or dental attention or diagnosis. Without all available information about a patient, it is impossible to make a diagnosis. Help and answers are in the form of general ideas. Only you, your dentist, and other necessary and qualified health care providers can make an appropriate treatment decision in an emergency or for everyday care and dental treatment.