Wayzata, Minnesota

Composite Fillings

Most people are familiar with silver fillings. In fact, your childhood dentist probably used a silver amalgam because it was considered good and inexpensive. The only other alternative was gold, which although stronger and longer-lasting, is more expensive.

Advanced Technology
Now there is something better. A durable composite material is available at a comparable price to the silver but without the drawbacks. In fact, we believe so strongly in this material that we no longer offer silver amalgam fillings.

silver amalgam fillings

composite fillings

This decision was based on a comprehensive review of all available filling materials. Our policy is to incorporate only those techniques, treatments and materials that are at the forefront of what is new and what works in modern dentistry.

Why Not Silver Fillings?
A silver amalgam can contain up to 50% mercury that expands and contracts in a similar manner as a thermometer. This means that when you put hot and cold fluids or food in your mouth, the silver fillings contract or expand accordingly. Over time there may be deterioration and leakage where the filling meets the tooth and decay can begin. Because a silver amalgam cannot be cemented to a tooth an undercut must be made to mechanically hold the filling in place. This process weakens the tooth and it may fracture. If decay begins to form around the site, the risk of eventual fracture is increased. In addition, the silver amalgam can discolor the tooth around the filling making it appear gray or black.

Why Is A Composite Filling Preferred?
A composite filling supports the tooth instead of the tooth supporting the filling as with the silver filling. The bonding adhesive used with the composite filling requires no undercuts, so more of your natural tooth is saved. An esthetic advantage is that the composite filling is white so it blends naturally with your tooth color.

Do All Fillings Have To Be Replaced Eventually?
Nothing lasts forever. Every filling has a lifetime that depends on many factors including: how large it is, where it is located, and the stress it will receive from the opposing tooth.  Fillings are placed where there is a large amount of tooth structure remaining.  When there is a larger amount of tooth structure missing then stronger materials such as porcelain or gold inlays or onlays are placed.