Amalgam or white composite fillings

A dental filling is a restorative treatment used to repair a decayed or fractured tooth. To complete a filling the dentist will first removed the soft, decayed tooth structure and then fill the cleaned out cavity with filling material.


No one type of filling is best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:

  • Amalgam (silver) fillings are made from a compound of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. They are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth. Amalgam fillings are usually the longest lasting before their seal breaks down and they need to be replaced.
  • Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. They are made from a combination of plastic and fine glass particles that are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden upon UV light exposure. Composite is a long lasting, strong material that can be used in front and back teeth, although their seal may not last as long as amalgam – generally from 3 to 10 years.

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