A certified implantologist and prosthodontics specialist with 20+ years in dentistry, I conduct clinical research, teach at University of Kiel, and contribute to implant system development. Recipient of the Camlog Research Award, I frequently publish and deliver global lectures.
A tooth filling is designed to save or preserve a tooth experiencing the early onset of tooth decay. This everyday dental treatment fills a hole/cavity present within the affected tooth, protecting it from further infection and so restores your smile. Know that the choice of dental filling you may need depends on the size of the cavity present within the tooth enamel and dentin.
Some of our patients ask us about the difference between silver and white fillings, in clinic. Please note that this article is for information only as we have stopped using amalgam (the professional term for silver fillings) 15 years ago due to the toxicity of the material.
Here, in this table we show the differences between silver (amalgam) and white (composite) fillings so that you can compare them for yourself.
|Silver fillings||White fillings|
|Consultation and Options||All your tooth filling options will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation with your dentist. |
Please be aware that in our clinic in London we will not use any amalgam material due to concerns about the mercury element present during the procedure (as explained in more detail below).
|All your tooth filling options will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation with your dentist.|
|Product||Amalgam fillings or ‘silver fillings’ are still the most common type of filling used and are made from a variety of different components including silver and mercury. |
Usually recommended to fill cavities in teeth which often undergo a lot of stress or wear – examples are your molars (back teeth).
Note that dental amalgam does contain mercury and releases mercury vapour when placing or removing the filling material. Mercury is known to be a potent nerve toxin.
|Composite fillings are also called ‘white fillings’ or ‘tooth coloured fillings.’ Crafted from a material that can be used to match the natural colour of the tooth enamel and dentin. Composite fillings are made from a mixture of glass and resin. It is applied to the affected tooth in layers. Once applied, the material is hardened with a special light. |
They are not as strong or hard-wearing as ceramic, gold or amalgam (silver fillings) but they can be preferred as they are less identifiable and noticeable aesthetically.
For smaller cavities, white fillings are the material of choice.
|Appearance||Silver in colour and noticeably ‘metal’ in appearance. Can shine or glint whenever you open your mouth. A more functional option.||Can be crafted to match the natural colour of the patient’s tooth enamel for a more pleasing aesthetic result. The immediate colour match can darken after around 8-10 years due to the consumption of staining foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, wine, and berries.|
|Longevity||They last well and are exceptionally hard-wearing. An average lifespan for a silver filling is between 10-15 years. Functionally they can be shaped to contour to your teeth and over time harden and fuse to the affected tooth. The malleable nature of the material increases its durability.||Modern composite fillings, depending on their size, can last on average between 10-15 years. How long it lasts also depends on its position in the mouth and its size. Optimised oral hygiene practiced at home can extend its lifespan significantly. |
The glass and resin composite materials are being developed all the time to increase strength and durability and they are becoming more resistant to wear and chewing forces.
|Procedure||You receive a local anaesthesia to numb the entire area before the procedure begins. Any dental plaque is removed and the affected tooth is thoroughly cleansed using a fluoride-free pumice. |
Tooth decay is identified and removed and the area smoothed. The amalgam is freshly prepared and placed into the cavity. This step is completed in around 15 minutes as the material will set during this time. We advise refraining from chewing on the filling for 2 hours. We advise attending a second appointment for the polishing of the filling.
|You receive a local anaesthesia to numb the entire area before the procedure begins. Any dental plaque is removed and the affected tooth is thoroughly cleansed using a fluoride-free pumice. Tooth decay is identified and removed and the area smoothed. Far less of the tooth substance is removed before application than for a silver filling. |
We evaluate your bite and shape of the tooth now filled to ensure the perfect fit, comfort and confidence – smoothing further where necessary. The filling is polished and fluoride is often placed directly afterward to protect the tooth enamel.
You are provided with comprehensive aftercare information and advice. If the injection has worn off, or if didn’t receive one, you can immediately chew on the new filling.
|Results||The finished filling should be a perfect contoured shape to replace the lost tooth substance and have a highly polished, shining silver finish.||Perfectly shaped, polished, colour matched, and fitted. Delivers a superior aesthetic finish.|
|Fees||At Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, we do not provide silver fillings as a dental treatment option within our portfolio, so we cannot offer a price indication. |
Know that silver fillings are usually less expensive than white fillings.
|Wimpole Street Dental Clinic – Current Fees|
Composite filling (1 surface) – £250
Composite filling (2 surfaces) – £350
Composite filling (3 surfaces) – £450
Composite filling (Complete Tooth Reconstruction) -£500
Composite veneer – £600
For the perfectly crafted look and feel to your new white tooth filling, expertly delivered from start to finish – contact Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, today.
Book an appointment to discuss your dental issues with a member of our expert team.