Silver Fillings V/S Tooth Colored Fillings

 Tooth fillings are very essential to conserve your tooth from decay destroying it. If teeth are not protected from caries, they will be get to the nerve and lead to needing a root canal. If at that point still not treated, then it will lead to an extraction. Then in order to replace that you will need a procedure a dental implant or a dental bridge, which is more expensive than just having the filling done in the first place. There are two kinds of fillings that you can choose from and learning the benefits and detriments of each filling would help you decide what is more suitable for you.

Silver Filling – also called amalgams which is a mixture of different metals, like copper, silver, tin and mercury, which gives the silvery color.


Amalgam Silver Fillings
Amalgam Silver Fillings
  • Dental amalgam has been widely used since 1859 in the United States which makes it more trusted when it comes to durability.
  • It is also mixed with other metals to make it safe.
  • It is also easy on the pocket and dentists make it easier to prepare.
  • Amalgam tooth fillings are covered by nearly all of the insurance companies.


  • There is no precise proof yet that silver amalgams are risky to people because of mercury that is present in the compound but studies show it might be harmful to patients.
  • Patients also have to wait for a few hours before chewing food on that particular tooth because amalgam needs time to harden.
  • Dentists need to drill further into the tooth to make a bigger hole which means drilling a healthy part of the tooth to make sure it will not fall out.
  • Susceptible to too much heat and cold, so it can expand and shrink causing tooth cracks and some instances eventually breakage.

Tooth Colored Filling– also known as dental composite that contains resin, like silicon and plastic, and it also has glass mixture. The color is white that resemble the tooth itself.


  • Composite filling has no mercury which is totally safe.

    Composite Tooth-colored Fillings
    Composite Tooth-colored Fillings
  • It hardens as soon as you leave the dental clinic and you do not have to make precautions on when to chew on that specific tooth.
  • Nearly invisible that makes it look natural.
  • It has the property that bonds with the tooth formation and makes the tooth stronger as it is being restored.
  • It does not expand and shrink like amalgam with cold and hot that would cause cracks and  breakage.


  • It needs great care because it is not as sturdy as amalgam, although the last few years the materials actually do have the same strength as amalgam. Teeth can be bleached when stained but not composite tooth filling.
  • Dentists would need more time to do this and it is more expensive compared to amalgam.
  • Most insurance companies do not cover composite fillings for back teeth and you would have to pay the difference out of pocket.

These are the most recommended tooth fillings to save your teeth, as well as the cheapest for filling tiny cavities. If you have any questions on this, you are always welcome to either call us at (323) 771-7254 or make an appointment and speak with us in person, in order to decide which type if filling is the best for you.

By Ladan Zinati



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    August 10, 2012

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  2. arlane
    December 6, 2012

    A 13-years old boy with good hygiene and no previous cavities comes to the office for two small occlusal pit composite restorations on his upper left molars. The boy’s mother is present in the treatment room asks the dental assistant why the dentist recommended tooth-colored filling instead of silver ones. How should the assistant respond?

    • admin
      December 10, 2012

      Because the composite filling material is bonded to the tooth, so no need to remove not just the filling, but sound tooth structure to give the silver filling retention.

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