The Differences Between Amalgam And Composite Fillings

AfPlacing a dental filling is one of the most common dental procedures performed. Over 90 percent of the population develops cavities and if you don’t get a cavity filled you will eventually suffer pain, and either need a root canal, crown, or extraction. Today, having a tooth filled consists of little discomfort. The procedure is fairly quick, easy, and straightforward. There is a difference between dental fillings that you may want to be aware of however. Below we list the differences between amalgam and composite fillings.

Silver Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings are a combination of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. The silver, tin, and copper combination makes up about 50 percent of the filling and the mercury, which binds the metals together, is the other 50 percent. This “amalgam” of metals creates a strong, durable, and long lasting filling material. Some amalgam facts include:

  • It is strong and can withstand the chewing forces of back teeth.
  • Amalgam fillings are less expensive than gold or composite fillings.
  • Faster to place.
  • They contain mercury.
  • Amalgam requires more tooth removal than composite.

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin is a mixture of white plastic-like material and powdered glass. Some facts about composite fillings include:

  • They are tooth-colored and blend with the surrounding dentition.
  • Less tooth removal is required because they are bonded to the tooth.
  • They increase the strength of the tooth.
  • Can be combined with other materials.
  • They take longer to place because they need to be heat-cured.
  • They cost more than amalgam fillings.
  • Do not contain mercury.
  • May shrink when placed.
  • May not be as strong for back teeth.



Dr. Alexander A. Sabet strives for clinical excellence in a comforting environment. We offer the latest in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Dr. Sabet’s various services include teeth whitening, TMJ treatment, and teeth bonding in Vista, CA. To learn more about his services or to schedule a consultation, call (760) 724-9117. Dr. Sabet proudly treats patients from Vista and the surrounding areas of Carlsbad, Ocean side, San Marcos, and Escondido.