Types of Dental Fillings

Types of Dental Fillings

There are two main types of dental fillings: amalgam and composite. Each is durable, but a dentist will advise what material is the best based on the location and size of the cavity.

Common Dental Filling Materials

Amalgam Dental Fillings

These are silver-colored and have been one of the most common filling materials. Amalgam fillings are easy for dentists to work with and are more affordable for patients. These are made from a combination of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper. The durability of silver amalgam fillings make them the best choice for large cavities or cavities in the back teeth. The molar teeth are used most during chewing, and amalgam fillings can withstand these forces to provide a long-term, reliable filling for a cavity. On average, an amalgam filling lasts eight to ten years. Amalgam also hardens quickly, which is very beneficial if the filling needed is on a hard-to-reach tooth or if the filling is for a child.

Composite Resin Dental Fillings

These are tooth-colored and match your teeth. Composite fillings are made with a mixture of quartz or glass, which creates a strong and aesthetically-pleasing filling. Natural-colored fillings are best for small-to-medium-sized fillings that do not need to withstand as much chewing pressure as molar teeth. Discuss your options with your dentist.

Is the Mercury in Silver Tooth Fillings Safe?

The mercury content in amalgam is safe because it is combined with other metals. 

Here is a statement from the American Dental Association regarding the use of amalgam:

“The American Dental Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U. S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization all agree that based on extensive scientific evidence, dental amalgam is a safe and effective cavity-filling material. The Alzheimer’s Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Autism Society of America and National Multiple Sclerosis Society—all science-based organizations like the ADA—also say that amalgam poses no health risk.”

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