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Amalgam and Composite Fillings

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What are amalgam and composite fillings?

A filling is material that a dentist uses to fill a cavity after he or she has removed the tooth decay. Amalgam looks silver in color and is a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Composite fillings are white or tooth-colored and made of a type of plastic. The color of composite can be customized to match your teeth.

What else do I need to know about amalgam and composite fillings?

Both fillings can fail because of the tooth breaking or additional tooth decay under or near the filling. If teeth next to the filling break, that can also cause the filling to fail.

How are fillings applied?

Your dentist will numb your teeth, gums, and mouth where you have a cavity. He or she will drill the tooth to remove the tooth decay. The filling is placed into your tooth to prevent further decay.

How can I help prevent cavities?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my dentist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.