Restorative Dental Treatment Options for Kids – Small Cavities

Silver Fillings for kids: Dental Amalgam Filling

Dental Amalgam Filling is the most common type of filling currently used in Canada. Since these fillings are silver in colour, they are used to fill back teeth. They include a mix of metals such as mercury, silver, copper and tin.

Amalgam filling for kids

Amalgam Filling

Advantages of silver fillings for kids:

  • The least expensive type of filling and can last for a long time.
  • Can withstand very high chewing loads and are compatible with moisture, making them particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load and saliva flow is the greatest.
  • Easy to put in place; only require one dental visit to complete.

Disadvantages of silver fillings for kids:

  • The silver colour may not appeal to people who want a “natural” look.
  • Tiny amounts of mercury may be released from the filling over time. Studies have shown that this level of mercury is considered safe.

Further reading regarding safety of silver filings:

  • Comments of the American Academy of Paediatric Dentist before the Dental Products Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee Food and Drug Administration U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dec 2010.
    (Download PDF)
  • Canadian Dental Association position for Amalgam
    (Download PDF)

Tooth-coloured Fillings: Composite Filings

Composite Fillings are made from durable plastics called composite resins, which are similar in color and texture to natural teeth.

White filling for kids

Tooth Coloured Filling

Advantages of tooth-colored fillings for kids:

  • Look more natural than other filling materials. Your child can smile, talk and eat with confidence.

Disadvantages of tooth-colored fillings for kids:

  • Not for every tooth. They work best in small restorations and low-stress areas. It’s not recommended for a large cavity on high-stress area like the chewing surface of a back tooth.
  • May be stained by food and become discoloured over time if meticulous oral hygiene can’t be maintained.
  • May cost more than silver fillings because tooth-colored fillings take more time and techniques to place. Your insurance may not cover for the cost, especially when it is placed on baby teeth in the back of your child’s mouth.