Mark R. Maher, DDS
Walnut Creek, CA

What is the difference between amalgam (silver) and composite (white) fillings?

Amalgam (Silver) Fillings

Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, have been used to fill cavities for over 150 years. They are made up of a combination of several ingredients, with elemental mercury being the primary component. Studies have shown that the mercury in amalgam fillings is chemically inactive and poses no risk to human health; however, many people are still uncomfortable with the thought of having a toxic chemical in their mouth at all times.

Composite (Tooth-Colored) Fillings

Composite fillings, also called white or tooth-colored fillings, are completely metal- and mercury-free. They are made of a composite resin, and the shade can be subtly changed to match the shade of your own natural teeth, allowing composite fillings to perfectly blend in with your own teeth. Composite fillings also bond to the tooth from the inside, helping to give the tooth more strength. Unlike metal fillings, they are not subject to expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes.

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