Types of Tooth Fillings

When you have a cavity and need to get a filling, you might feel overwhelmed with the choices that are offered. There are a number of different things you can choose to fill your teeth with, and this article will discuss the different types of tooth fillings.

Types of Tooth Fillings

In the following section we will be looking at the most popular types of tooth fillings. We will provide information on the pros and cons of each type, as well as a general view of costs associated with each type.

1. Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam is made up of a mixture of tin, silver, copper, zinc and mercury. Mercury makes up around 50 percent of the entire mixture. It is a traditional and non-bonded filling. This type of filling lasts for around 10 years minimum but can last for even longer with proper oral care. Amalgam fillings  are perhaps the least expensive types of tooth fillings that you can get.

Pros of Amalgam Fillings

  • are ultra strong and durable.
  • can withstand all of the force that comes along with chewing tough foods.
  • are not as sensitive to moisture while the filling process is occurring.
  • are able to be put in in a single dental visit.

Cons of Amalgam Fillings

  • do not match the natural color of your teeth.
  • can tarnish and corrode over time causing discoloration near the tooth.
  • do not stick together with the tooth.
  • can cause concern about its effects, making some patients wary.

2. Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin is made of blend of glass and plastic particles. It is both an indirect and a direct type of filling. Direct types of tooth fillings can be placed by the dentist using a light that is able to make the soft material of the filling harden. An indirect filling consists of the dentist taking an impression of the tooth and sending it off to a lab. At the lab, they will make a filling using the mold of the tooth. It will then be put back into the mouth during the next visit.

It can be used for both large and small fillings. These are especially important in the front teeth or the teeth that are visible for cosmetic reasons. They last for a minimum of five years. They cost less than gold fillings but more than amalgam.

Pros of Composite Resin Fillings

  • can match the natural hue of your teeth to make it look natural.
  • are able to be completed in a single visit.
  • can be directly bonded to the tooth to make it stronger.
  • require less drilling than there would be with an amalgam filling.
  • can be used in conjunction with other types of materials.

Cons of Composite Resin Fillings

  • cost more than amalgam fillings.
  • lack the proof they can outlast the immense pressure that comes with chewing like amalgam can.
  • can shrink a bit when put in place. This can make the composite loose and create a gap between the tooth and the filling which can lead to more cavities.
  • can take more time to put in since they are typically applied in layers. This means a higher cost because of increased labor and time.

3. Cast Gold Fillings

Cast gold fillings are made up out of gold alloy. Gold alloy is just gold that has been mixed with other metals. It is used for both onlays and inlays as well as crowns. Cast gold fillings can last for a minimum of 15 years; they can last for longer when they are taken care of properly. It costs more than most of the other filling material types and can be as much as 10 times pricier than amalgam.

Pros of Cast Gold Fillings

  • do not corrode with time or use.
  • have a more attractive appearance to some people than the silver color that comes with amalgam.
  • are usually durable enough to withstand the forces of chewing.
  • can last longer than any of the other filling types.

Cons of Cast Gold Fillings

  • will take two dentist appointments to complete.
  • consist of making an impression of your teeth during the first appointment. You will then receive a temporary filling.
  • consist of receiving the permanent filling from the impression during the second appointment.
  • are more expensive than the other types of fillings due to the material.
  • can form an electric current in your mouth if it placed next to an amalgam filling.
  • are obviously not the same color as teeth.

4. Ceramic Fillings

Ceramics are made out of porcelain more often than not. These types of fillings can be used for onlays, inlays, veneers, crowns, orthodontic brackets, implants and more. These fillings can last for at least seven years with proper oral hygiene. It costs more than composite and can be as pricey as gold depending on each individual filling.

Pros of Ceramic Fillings

  • are tooth colored and will ensure that your teeth look natural and like you want them to.
  • they are the most aesthetically pleasing and visually appealing choice.
  • are more stain resistant and will not corrode from abrasion easily.
  • have a moderate resistance to the force that comes with chewing and can last up to seven years at a time.

Cons of Ceramic Fillings

  • are less secure and sturdy than the other options making them more likely to break apart due to their brittleness.

Note: onlays and inlays have to be big enough to stop the filling from breaking. This will mean that the tooth has to be reduced in size and filed down. This is done to ensure that there is plenty of room for the extra filling space.


In this article, we have explored the different sorts of fillings that you might want to try out. Have you ever gotten your teeth filled with one of these materials? What did you think about the experience and the filling itself? Let us know in the comment section below.

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