For much of the past 150 years, silver (or black) coloured amalgam has been the standard material used for filling dental cavities. Although amalgam fillings are strong, durable and cost-effective, they simply don’t look good and can make you feel reluctant to smile or laugh. Silver fillings can also expand over time, which can further weaken – or even crack – the filled tooth.
However, what is of even more concern to some people is that amalgam is made by mixing liquid mercury with powdered silver, tin, copper and zinc. The mercury content of amalgam is usually close to 50% and while there are varying opinions about the potential health impacts of amalgam, Holistic Dental in Melbourne is a mercury free practice. (For more on this, read our section on Mercury Free Dentistry.)
While non-metallic fillings have been available for many years, they were mainly used for cosmetic treatments. However now, advances in dental adhesives, resins, ceramics and porcelain, combined with new technologies and processes, mean that composites of these materials can provide the strength and resilience that’s required for restoring or rebuilding damaged teeth. In addition, because the material used in white fillings bond so well to teeth, the procedure is less invasive than that used for amalgam (which often requires the removal of healthy tooth structure in order to ensure that the filling is securely held).