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Different Types of Dental Fillings

Despite your best efforts to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy, sometimes a cavity can form, and you will need a filling to restore and preserve your tooth.

Dental fillings require removal of the decayed or damaged portions of the tooth. Once the decayed area is removed, your dentist will clean the tooth and fill the missing area within the tooth. Fillings help ensure the tooth is protected from further decay and help preserve the tooth so it remains functional.

There was a time when you had only one option for fillings—silver amalgam. However, today’s dental technology has created far more attractive and versatile options.

Here are the five most common types of dental fillings materials available today.


Amalgam fillings have been used in the U.S. for over 100 years. They are silver fillings made of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury, with mercury composing nearly 50 percent of the mix. Amalgam fillings are usually used to fill larger teeth like molars and are the most affordable dental filling option.

Over the years, some people have expressed concern about the materials used in amalgam fillings, especially mercury. However, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), the mercury used in fillings is safe because, once combined with the other metals, the mercury is stable and does not leave the filling. The ADA reports there have been so significant studies that show harm from amalgam fillings.

Composite Resin

Composite resin fillings are made of a mixture of plastic and glass powder that is hardened using a specialized light. This material is currently the most commonly used for dental fillings in the U.S. Its popularity is probably due to the clean, white appearance of these fillings and the fact that they match the color of healthy teeth.

If you are looking for composite fillings in St Petersburg, FL, Klement Family Dental is the obvious choice. We only use composite resin for our fillings because of the superior appearance and quality of these fillings.

Cast Gold

Cast gold fillings use gold, alloys, and other metals like copper to repair cavities. Cast gold fillings are by far the most durable, lasting 20 years or more. However, gold fillings are also the most expensive, costing as much as ten times more than amalgam and composite fillings.

Cast gold fillings or inlays require more than one dental visit to compete, since these types of fillings are molded and must be fabricated first and then installed at another appointment.

Aside from durability, many people choose gold fillings and dental inlays because they like the look.


Ceramic fillings use materials like porcelain to repair damaged teeth and cavities. Ceramics are very durable but may be as expensive as gold. Ceramic or porcelain fillings usually require at least two appointments, since, like gold, they must be fabricated first and installed at a separate appointment.

While ceramic fillings are expensive, they have several benefits. In addition to being durable, they are very smooth, making them easier to keep clean. They are also attractive to many because ceramics may be matched exactly to the color of your teeth.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer is made of glass and acrylic powders. Much like composite fillings, glass Ionomer may sometimes be hardened using a specially designed light. This material is generally used for fillings in visible or front teeth and for difficult situations such as decay near the base of the tooth or near the root.

While glass Ionomer fillings are white, they may not match the color of the existing tooth as well as composite fillings do. This material is more expensive than composite or amalgam, and may be weaker.

Glass Ionomer may be more effective if combined with composite material, but in this situation, the glass Ionomer is added in layers that must be hardened one layer at a time, making the application process more time-consuming.

While fillings can repair and preserve a decayed tooth, the best way to protect and preserve your teeth is not to need a filling in the first place. Following good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings are still the best ways to care for your teeth. If you need a dental filling, contact Klement Family Dental today to enquire about white composite fillings cost in St Petersburg, FL. We are a full-service practice, committed to meeting your dental needs.