These days, more and more patients are getting tooth-colored fillings. They look more natural and don’t require your dentist to remove as much tooth structure. Here’s what you should know:

Composite fillings can save more tooth structure.

Tooth-colored composite fillings are great because they look natural and they bond directly to the tooth so dentists do not need to remove much tooth structure to place them. Composite fillings also don’t put you at risk for cracks in adjacent natural tooth structure the way amalgams do.

Composite fillings are repairable.

If there’s a problem with a small area of a composite filling, we can remove and replace just that part without replacing the entire filling. If there’s a problem with even a small part of your amalgam filling, we’d have to remove the whole thing.

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Composite fillings have to be placed in a dry tooth.

As you can imagine, this can be a challenge in a wet mouth environment! In some cases, we simply can’t get a tooth as dry as we need to for composite. Then, a silver filling may be a better option.

Composite fillings are more complicated.

Filling a cavity with composite material requires many more steps and products. It’s also much more technique sensitive. In some cases, getting a tooth-colored filling means more time in the dentist’s chair.

Composite fillings haven’t been around as long.

More and more dentists (and more and more patients!) now prefer composite fillings when possible, but they’re still a relatively new development compared to silver fillings. They don’t have quite the same track record of longevity as amalgams do, but the materials are getting better and stronger, and many dentists these days would probably argue they can last as long as amalgams.