A Guide To 3 Common Dental Filling Materials

2 May 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If your teeth have been damaged by trauma or tooth decay, your dentist may recommend dental fillings. Fillings are great for restoring the shape and function of teeth while protecting the sensitive tooth pulp. Before this treatment can commence, however, you will have a choice to make: which filling material should you choose for your teeth?

The various materials used in dental fillings each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Here's a guide to three common dental filling materials to help you make an informed decision for your dental health needs.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

Metallic amalgams were among the first materials used in modern dental fillings. Today's silver amalgam consists of a liquid mercury base mixed with powdered silver, tin, and other metals. The resultant amalgam is non-toxic and can be used to produce fillings that last for over a decade.

One thing to note about silver amalgam fillings is that they will stand out. The silver coloring of amalgam fillings tends to darken and become more noticeable over time. Because of this, many dental patients choose only to use amalgam fillings on teeth that aren't visible, such as the back molars.

Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain or ceramic fillings appeared shortly after metal amalgam fillings as an attempt to achieve a more natural look. Porcelain fillings are ideal for dental patients who want their fillings to be minimally visible. Porcelain matches the color and luster of natural teeth, and porcelain fillings can last for decades or even a lifetime.

Cost will be a factor to consider before deciding on porcelain fillings. A porcelain filling must be custom-made to fit the contours of the damaged tooth. The manufacturing process and the long lifespan of porcelain fillings makes them more expensive than other options.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are a popular option because they make tooth-colored implants available at a lower cost than materials such as porcelain. Composite fillings are made of a synthetic resin that is chemically bonded to the tooth with a UV light. This process allows composite fillings to be quickly installed in one visit to your dentist.

While composite fillings are affordable, they also have a shorter lifespan than other types of fillings. Composite fillings usually need to be replaced every few years. Composite resin can also stain like natural teeth, so a diligent dental hygiene routine is needed.

Dental fillings are one of the most important tools in restorative dentistry. Ask your dentist if you have other questions for more details about the different types of fillings.