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Metal vs. Tooth-colored Fillings

July 03, 2012 @ 12:02 PM -- by

The look, health, and function of your smile are important. Parents have many questions on this topic, and one of the common points of concern posed to Dr. Maurice Edwards at our midtown Manhattan-based practice is whether metal or tooth-colored fillings are better for your smile.

In this blog post, we will explain the differences between the two types of dental fillings.

Which Type is Right for You?

There are many factors for an individual to consider when deciding whether to use metal or tooth-colored fillings to fill a cavity, correct tooth decay, or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Which type will look the most natural? Which type will last longer? Which type is more durable? Are there negative health side effects to either type? After all, that little filling will be with a person for years and years to come. In truth, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of fillings.

Our trusted dentist Dr. Edwards, a New York oral surgeon, advises his patients to consider the following pros and cons for metal and tooth-colored fillings:

Metal fillings, including gold and silver amalgam:

  • Last a long time (gold fillings last more than 15 years)
  • Withstand chewing pressure
  • Generally regarded to look less appealing than tooth-colored fillings
  • Do not look natural
  • Gold fillings tend to be more expensive, while silver fillings are a low cost option
  • Greater removal of tooth structure may be necessary to fit metal fillings
  • Some people are allergic to the mercury found in amalgam fillings

Tooth-colored fillings, made of composite resin or porcelain:

  • Look best or most natural, as they can be matched to the color and shade of existing teeth
  • Most popular
  • Composite fillings take longer to place because the material must be applied in layers, and then cured with a special light
  • Not as effective in terms of filling larger cavities
  • Composite fillings typically wear out in five to 10 years
  • Lack durability

Dr. Edwards considers his patients’ needs and desires when making a recommendation on the use of metal vs. tooth-colored fillings.

Alternatives to Dental Fillings

There are a number of treatments that can be used to restore damaged teeth, including:

  • Dental crowns:If your tooth has suffered from extensive decay, has a large filling that needs to be replaced, and requires additional structural support, a dental crown can be fit over the tooth to provide additional strength.
  • Dental implants:If your tooth has suffered so much damage that it cannot be saved, the tooth will need to be extracted and replaced. For our patients in New York, dental implants offer the most stable, durable, and natural looking tooth replacement option. Dr. Edwards will devise a tailored treatment plan to meet your needs.

Learn More about New York Dental Fillings

Want to know more? Please contact the practice of Dr. Maurice Edwards, our skilled dentist. He readily shares his knowledge and expertise with our patients. We would be happy to answer any questions or schedule an appointment for you.

Dr. Maurice Edwards, D.M.D.

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

41 East 57th Street, Suite 1204
New York, New York 10022
p: 212 888 8624 f: 212 838 5533