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Tooth Whitening Before1

Both Amalgam (silver colour) and Composite (white) fillings are available here at Ethicare Dental. From a medical and environmental point of view there are those that argue against the use of amalgam.

The view taken at Ethicare Dental is that there are certain situations when placing amalgam would be of greater benefit to the tooth, and others where composite would be more appropriate. I have seen too many instances where large white fillings have failed sooner rather than later, simply because the physical properties of the composite material do not allow for its long term success in certain situations.

Amalgam fillings are generally harder, stronger and more durable, however they are often more destructive to place than white fillings and so the type of filling should be chosen depending on the situation. Often if something cosmetic is required, it might be better to place lab made porcelain or composite fillings.

In situations where more tooth structure has been lost a dental filling whether it be made of amalgam or composite is inappropriate as a restoration is required that not only fills the tooth but also protects the remaining tooth structure and adequately closes the contact between one tooth and the adjacent tooth. This can be done in the form of an onlay or crown.


In some circumstances the answer is yes. If the patient has an allergy to amalgam or it is felt that an immunological problem is occurring as a result of its presence, replacing amalgam is an option and should be seriously considered.

However there are some instances where it may not be suitable. Especially where there is already a deep filling, it is possible that replacing the filling could further traumatise the nerve within the tooth so that it would then require further treatment. A decision needs to be made between the cosmetic advantage and the risks involved, the smaller and shallower the filling the less the risk.

It is often a bitter pill to swallow if something goes wrong following cosmetic treatment because strictly speaking it did not really need to be done.

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