Silver fillings are made of metal amalgams – combinations of metals – and they've been the mainstay of tooth restorations and fillings for many decades. White fillings (also called tooth-colored fillings) are a more recent development. They're made of very durable composite resins (a kind of strong, hard plastic) and they can be tinted to match your tooth so they're pretty much invisible to anyone but your dentist.
The choice of filling is largely one of personal preference, although some studies have shown composite fillings may bond better with the tooth surface to prevent decay from “seeping” under in the future. Other studies have reported composites are not as durable in the long term. Both types of fillings can provide long-lasting, durable restorations. Another factor is cost – composite fillings tend to cost more than silver metal fillings, and insurance usually does not cover the additional cost.
Once the extent of the decay has been determined with an examination and possibly dental x-rays, the decayed area will be removed using special tools, and then the resulting cavity will be cleaned of debris. Once the cavity is completely clean and dry, the filling material will be applied and shaped so it fits comfortably. Composite fillings are applied in layers and often use a special “curing” light to help them harden. Silver fillings have a more paste-like consistency and do not require a curing light.
No, we use state-of-the-art pain management techniques including powerful local anesthetics to help prevent pain sensations during your procedure. Once the anesthetic wears off, you can manage any discomfort you might have with over-the-counter pain relievers.