Choosing Between 3 Common Types Of Dental Fillings

If you have a cavity or a chipped tooth, dental fillings are one of the most common methods that your dentist will use to repair your smile. If it is your first time getting a dental filling, you may be surprised to learn that there are a few different options available. Here is a comparison of three common types of fillings to help you make an informed decision.


Amalgam fillings are commonly called silver fillings, but this is primarily due to their color rather than their composition. While small amounts of silver are used in amalgam fillings, liquid mercury makes up approximately 50 percent of the material. Amalgam fillings are popular because they are both affordable and extremely durable.

If you are in need of fillings on your front teeth, amalgam fillings may not be the right option for you. The silver color of amalgam fillings will stand out quite noticeably compared to the white of your natural teeth. Dental amalgam is also prone to discoloration over time, so most people prefer to use them on only their back teeth.

Dental Composite

Dental composite is a resin made from a mixture of plastic and finely ground glass. The resin is applied to the damaged area of the tooth, and UV light is used to harden the resin into a solid filling. The filling will match the whiteness of your dental enamel almost exactly, but there will still be a noticeable difference between the luster of the filling and your real teeth.

Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings because they are more labor-intensive to install. Several cycles of applying and hardening the resin must be used to ensure that the filling is hard throughout. Even with this process, composite fillings will never be as hard as amalgam fillings. This makes them more susceptible to wearing away over time due to chewing and grinding your teeth.


Ceramic fillings are unmatched at mimicking the color and luster of your dental enamel. Ceramic is also extremely resistant to staining, making it the preferred option for covering cavities and chips in your front teeth.

While ceramic is not likely to wear down due to chewing or tooth grinding, it is more brittle than other materials. Biting down too forcefully on hard foods, such as popcorn kernels, can sometimes cause ceramic fillings to crack. You should also keep in mind that the nigh-indistinguishable appearance of ceramic fillings often comes at a premium cost.

Keep the differences between common types of dental fillings in mind so you can choose the material that will best suit your needs. For more information, contact local professionals like Plymouth Valley Dental Group.