There are two types of fillings that are widely used.

  1. Dental Amalgam (silver filling)
  2. Composite Resin which is a hard plastic (white filling)
Image courtesy of photostock at
Image courtesy of photostock at

Dental Amalgam

The World Health Organisation, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.

Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line.


White Fillings

White fillings are tooth coloured plastic materials (made of glass and resin). They are always used on front teeth where a natural appearance is very important. They can be used on back teeth as well depending on the location and the extent of the decay. White fillings on back teeth will normally not last as long as silver fillings.