What Are the Differences Between White and Metal Fillings?

18 October 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

While all dental fillings do the same jobs, their materials are different. The most obvious difference here is colour. Some fillings are white and some are metal. Read on to learn more.

White Fillings

White fillings are made from different materials. For example, dentists can use composite resins, glass ionomer cements and ceramic porcelains to fill teeth.

While all these fillings are white, your dentist can mix their materials to match the actual colour of your teeth more closely. The placement of your filling also affects where these fillings go and when you might use them.

Dentists will use a white filling on your front teeth or in very visible areas. These fillings blend in better so don't look obvious in the mouth if they are colour-matched and expertly placed.

While some white fillings, such as composite resins and porcelains, work well on back teeth, dentists often won't use other white options in these locations. Some materials aren't strong enough to work effectively in these areas.

For example, glass ionomer fillings don't typically last long on chewing surfaces on back teeth. They are too easily damaged. So, dentists might only fill baby back teeth with this material. Or, they might use it as a temporary filling.

White fillings have various costs which might also affect your choice of material. For example, resins are typically cheaper than porcelain options.

However, longevity is also a consideration here. A porcelain filling might cost more than a resin one, but it is also likely to last longer. So, it could be cheaper in the long run.

Metal Fillings

The most common metal fillings are silver amalgams. However, you can also use gold fillings.

These fillings are typically reserved for back teeth. A silver-coloured amalgam is cosmetically unattractive on front teeth. Plus, while some people like to wear gold crowns or veneers, gold fillings don't look good on visible teeth.

Metal fillings are stronger than white ones. They work well on back teeth because they can cope with chew forces and stresses. They are less likely to crack or break. While they stand out on a tooth, they aren't as visible in the back of the mouth.

Metal amalgams are the cheapest option here; gold fillings are more expensive. Plus, an amalgam filling usually costs less than any white alternative. So, if cosmetics aren't an issue, an amalgam will cost you less and last for longer.

For more information and advice, contact a local company like Platinum Dental Studio.