It’s never going to be a good day when your dentist tells you that you have a cavity. After all, it’s nothing to be proud of. It is especially hurtful if you are the type who diligently brushes your teeth at least twice a day and do what you can to keep your teeth healthy. And let’s not forget the fact you will have to get a filling, which is cause for anxiety for some of you.

After the cavity is discovered, the next step is typically the dental filling. Dental fillings come in several different materials and each has advantages and disadvantages. James W. Mellert, your dental clinic in Torrance, takes a look at the various types of fillings.

The Classic

Amalgam fillings are what most think of as silver fillings, but they are really composed of a mixture of silver, copper, tin and mercury. Dentists have been using amalgam fillings for over 150 years because they are long-lasting, strong and an inexpensive option.

The downside to this type of filling is that they are very noticeable and tend to get dark over time. If you are worried about your smile, you might want to go with a different option.


Composite fillings are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass. You read that right, powdered glass. The beauty of composite fillings is that they can be colored to match your natural teeth. This is why they are a popular choice.

However, they do wear out faster than other filling options and they aren’t the best choice if you have great chewing pressure.

Million Dollar Smile

Gold fillings won’t literally cost you a million dollars, they just make you look like a million dollars. Gold fillings aren’t made of pure gold, but they are still one of the most durable choices available. But they will cost you a pretty penny to have gold fillings, about six to 10 times more than amalgam fillings.


Ceramic fillings are made mostly of porcelain, which makes them a great low-profile option. In addition to being tooth-colored, they are also resistant to stains. One drawback to ceramic fillings is that they are more brittle than other filling options and are rather expensive.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer fillings are made of acrylic and fluoroaluminosilicate, which is a component of glass and a really long word. This type of filling is typically used for fillings on front teeth or fillings when the decay goes into the root of the tooth. The downside to this type of filling is that they don’t last very long, around five years or so and they don’t match the color of teeth as closely as composite fillings.

If you still have questions about the types of fillings dentists use, feel free to give James W. Mellert a call. You should also come and see us if you are having problems with any existing fillings that are bothering you. A loose or damaged filling can lead to complications, so you don’t want to wait to schedule an appointment.