Types of Dental Fillings

If you have a cavity, then your dentist will use restorative treatments to restore the look and function of your damaged tooth. 

More simply put, you will get a dental filling. 

The dentist will remove the portion of your tooth that is decayed and “fill” the area after the removal. Fillings are also used to fix cracked or broken teeth. There are many different options you have when you need a filling. Each type of material that is available has unique advantages and disadvantages including lifespan, cost, and others. 

Cast Gold Fillings

Cast gold fillings have a variety of advantages. They are very strong as they can last 10 to 15 years, sometimes more, with proper care. They do not corrode and some people prefer the aesthetics of a gold filling compared to the other options, especially in more visible areas of the mouth.

The biggest disadvantage of cast gold fillings is the cost, up to ten times more than silver amalgam fillings. Gold fillings also take at least two visits to be fitted correctly. In rare instances a gold filling placed next to silver can cause a sharp pain called galvanic shock.

Silver Amalgam

Silver amalgam fillings are also very strong and durable, having a similar lifespan as gold and ceramic fillings. Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. They do not corrode and are less expensive than gold or composite fillings. 

This type of filling is considered to be less aesthetically pleasing than other options. It is also more likely to expand and contract than other materials, which can cause cracks in the tooth. Additionally, some people worry about the inclusion of mercury in the alloy, though it is largely agreed upon by dental associations that the amount is entirely safe.

Composite Resin

Composite fillings are popular because they can easily be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Composite fillings are also versatile as they can be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn-down teeth as well as cavities. Composite fillings require less tooth structure to be removed before they are applied; they also bond to the existing tooth with a chemical bond which can provide more support.

Composite fillings are less durable than other options, lasting 5 years on average compared to the longer lifespan of other materials. They also do not perform as well under pressure when chewing, especially with larger cavities, so they are often used for the visible front teeth that are not used for chewing.


Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain, which makes them both a very durable and attractive option. Ceramic fillings last up to 15 years or more with proper care. Ceramic fillings are also stain resistant, which contributes to their long lifespan.

However, ceramic can cost as much as gold fillings. They can also wear down the surrounding teeth if the porcelain becomes rough.

Get a Healthy and Beautiful Smile with Lady Bird Dental 

At Lady Bird Dental, we offer a modern and thoughtful approach to dental care. 

If you have any questions about the options you have for fillings or if you would like to book an appointment, you can contact Dr. Dundeen at Lady Bird Dental.

Return To Blog