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We offer both silver and cosmetic restorations. Many people prefer tooth colored restorations these
days due to better esthetics and because there is some mercury metal in the silver fillings. We will leave
the choice to the patients as to which type of restoration is placed, but it is our opinion that in some
cases for posterior teeth that the silver fillings may be a better option for longevity for the patient.
The reasoning for this is that if a cavity is close to the nerve of the tooth, the white filling material may
cause the nerve to die off, requiring future root canal therapy and a crown for that tooth. White (composite) fillings require us to place an acid onto the tooth in order to make the filling bond to the tooth.
This acid can cause major irritation to the nerve. We also use an alternative white filling called resin modified glass ionomer. This type of material does not require acid to be placed onto the tooth in order
for the bond to hold, but is not a good alternative when the filling is very large. The reason that silver
fillings typically last longer than white fillings is that they are harder, so less likely to break, and that
the silver metal in the filling kills bacteria that try to eat away at the tooth around the edges of the filling. White fillings do not have anti-bacterial properties to them, so bacteria can get around the edges
of the filling over time causing the restoration to fail. We always leave the final decision as to what
type of restoration to place, but like to keep the patient fully informed as to different potential
outcomes with the type of restoration that is placed.