What Are Tooth Fillings Made Of?

man wonders what dental fillings are made of

There are many different types of dental fillings & each is made of different materials. Depending on what your dental restoration needs are, your dentist may choose to use one over the other. Explore the different materials used for dental fillings & why they would be used.

Types of Dental Fillings 

Some dental filling options are more widely used than others for several reasons. Here are the most commonly used dental fillings & their makeup. 

Composite “White” Fillings 

Composite resin fillings are tooth colored & are the most popular used fillings. The material used is a mix of glass & hard plastics that harden under UV light. Your dentist can also color-match the material to give your tooth a very natural look.


  • Aesthetically pleasing 
  • They bond to the teeth micro-mechanically
  • It can also be used to fill in cracks & small imperfections
  • Less tooth structure needs to be removed 


  • They can be more expensive than metal fillings
  • They can be less durable & need replacement more often 

Metal “SIlver” Fillings 

Metal Fillings used to be the norm when it came to filling cavities years ago & are also known as amalgam fillings. The metals used in metal fillings are a combination of  silver, copper, tin, & zinc. These fillings do contain small amounts of mercury but have been deemed safe by the American Dental Association. 


  • Durability – these fillings may outlast composite fillings & need to be replaced less often
  • They are the least expensive option
  • They can withstand are durable


  • Aesthetically unpleasing
  • Amalgam fillings can cause discoloration of the tooth
  • Higher risk of fracture of remaining tooth structure
  • They can cause an allergic reaction to mercury

Gold Fillings 

Gold fillings are made up of just that, gold. They differ from metal & composite fillings because they require a mold to be made of the tooth before being placed. These fillings usually require more than one dental appointment due to the process.


  • They are durable
  • They don’t corrode
  • They are strong & withstand bite force


  • Require more than one dental visit
  • They are more expensive than other fillings
  • On rare occurrences, if placed next to an amalgam fillings can cause Galvanic shock

Ask a Dentist About Which Dental Filling is Right For You

If your dentist has performed an exam & found cavities in your teeth you may need dental fillings to restore the decay. A dentist at Lakeview Dental Care can help you understand which dental filling option is best for you. Schedule an appointment today!

Call us today with any questions or to book your appointment!


Book Online

man wonders what dental fillings are made of

General Dental Articles