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Back 15 May 2017

White Fillings - Just The Facts

When you're considering dental fillings, what's the biggest decision you’re most likely to have to make before your appointment?

It's very probable that you need to make a choice between white or mercury amalgam (AKA silver or black) fillings.

So do you ask a friend what they recommend, or research online to see what others suggest?

While we always advise both new and existing clients to be proactive and stay informed about your dental health, we also encourage you to always discuss your choices with either our Team or other dental professionals before committing to your appointments or procedures.

To help guide you when making the decision between white and amalgam fillings, Milford Dentists have gathered answers to some of the most common questions below.

What Are White Fillings?

With modern dentistry, there is a range of dental filling materials available. 

A composite or white filling is a mixture of tooth-coloured plastic and glass that contain no toxic substances and are used by dentists to restore decayed teeth or for cosmetics improvements.

Your teeth can also be filled with gold; porcelain or silver mercury amalgam (which consists of 50% mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper) Learn more about white fillings here

 amalgam-fillins-replacement-with-white-filling

Above: Old amalgam fillings replaced with white fillings

When Are White Fillings Used?

Fillings are typically used to repair decayed tooth and or teeth that have broken down, but early decay does not always mean you need a filling – talk to us about a simple dental hygiene check-up


While used to repair teeth that have decayed/fractured composite or white fillings are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of your teeth or reshaping teeth with a poor shape.

composite-white-filling-replacements

Above: Colour matched white fillings as amalgam replacement

If the size of your cavity is small to medium, or if your tooth gets a lot of chewing action a composite filling is generally strong enough to fix the problem.

Why Replace Amalgam With White Fillings?

At Milford Dentists, we have been replacing amalgam filled teeth for more than 30 years. We have discovered with the older amalgam fillings that the encasing tooth often has stress fractures present leading to cusp fracturing and there is almost always dental decay beneath them.

We believe white fillings along with crowns/overlays/caps are physically superior alternatives to traditional dental amalgam fillings and we consider them to be stronger, safer and more durable. Milford Dentists have opted to be Mercury Amalgam Free since 1999.

What Are The Advantages of White Fillings?

Dentists can closely match the colour of a composite or white filling to the colour of your teeth - these restorations are a much better more biomimetic (life like) alternative.

Composites can also be a better choice for people who are afraid of dental work, since these fillings are also bonded or “glued” into the tooth cavity, requiring less drilling. Learn more about the differences between composite and amalgam fillings here

How Long Do They Last?

While a long-term solution to dental decay or for cosmetic corrections, these tooth coloured fillings (as with most dental repairs) will eventually require attention. Studies indicate composites can last from 6 -7 years, although many of our patients have found the white fillings we placed lasting for far longer periods of time and consider composite resin fillings are a very durable option.

Want to know more about your choices for dental cavities and repair? Talk to us today to learn more about the benefits of composite resin (white fillings)  vs traditional amalgam fillings and why we have haven’t placed a dental amalgam filling since 1999.