Tooth-colored filings, also known as white fillings or cosmetic fillings, are made of a safe, nontoxic resin. Not only safer, they are less invasive, stronger, and more reliable than their metal alternatives. While the issue of amalgam fillings off-gassing mercury is still up for debate, this much is certain: there is nothing in tooth-colored fillings that could prove harmful if ingested or inhaled.
The Advantages of Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
White fillings are nontoxic. This is not, however, the only advantage they enjoy over traditional amalgam dental fillings. They are also more conservative, allowing for better preservation of your natural tooth.
Metal fillings cannot be bonded to the surface of your teeth. In order to place a metal filling, a large hole into which the amalgam can be packed must first be drilled. This further compromises the strength of the tooth being treated. Tooth-colored fillings are bonded to the tooth’s surface and do not require a large hole to be drilled, making them more comfortable to place and allowing them to preserve more healthy enamel.
The hole required for amalgam fillings permanently weakens the tooth. In fact, studies have found that teeth with metal filings are 40% weaker than natural teeth. On the other hand, there is no measurable difference between natural teeth and those with white fillings.
Metal fillings expand and contract, ever so slightly, with temperature changes in your mouth. Over time, this allows metal fillings to come loose and fall out or, worse yet, to crack or break a tooth. Cosmetic fillings are impervious to temperature changes. They do not change shape or size. They will not fall out. They will not chip, crack, or break your tooth.
Metal fillings are unattractive. When they are visible, they can even be distracting. For some, this is embarrassing. White fillings are shaded to match your tooth in color, helping to ensure they are not visible. This can help ensure your smile looks strong and healthy, even after being restored.