Difference Between Amalgam & Composite Fillings

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difference between amalgam & composite fillings

Modern dentistry has provided us with the opportunity to refine and repair our smiles in many ways. This includes straightening our teeth more discretely, brightening our teeth so that we can show off that coveted pearly white smile, and reinforcing the structure of a damaged tooth so that it heals as opposed to just pulling it out.

Another notable characteristic of contemporary oral health care is being able to use a variety of materials to fabricate durable, yet aesthetically pleasing dental prosthetics. A well-known example is when you visit a dentist near you to receive a dental filling.

If you have any questions about dental fillings, call our local dental clinic; we’ll be happy to explain the process and help you out however we can.

What Are Dental Fillings?

A dental filling, as the name illustrates, is a special substance that’s used to fill in a hole that’s left behind in your tooth from a cavity or other decay. If you actively practice good oral habits like brushing and flossing your teeth after eating, consume less sugary food and drink, and come in for periodic cleanings, your filling should last you many years.

Several materials can be used to create your filling such as:

  1. Metal. Gold, silver, nickel, and chromium are some examples.
  2. Porcelain-fused-with-metal.
  3. Ceramic.
  4. Composite resin.
  5. Glass ionomer.

It’s a smart idea to talk to your dentist in South Edmonton before you commit to anything. Based on the current health of your oral health, the cost, and the extent of damage that your tooth has experienced, your dentist will be able to suggest the best type of dental filling for you.

Amalgam vs Composite Resin Fillings

The two most popular types of dental fillings are amalgam and composite resin filings. There are advantages and drawbacks to both materials. To help you understand how they compare, we’ve broken down each type of filling in further detail below:

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam, or silver amalgam fillings, are created from a combination of metals including tin, copper, and yes, silver. For many decades this has been one of the most common types of dental fillings.


  • They’re durable. On average, an amalgam filling will last up to 10 years at least. For some patients, it may be as long as 15 to 20 years instead. They can easily withstand chewing, biting, and other internal forces that impact your teeth.
  • They’re affordable.
  • They’re simple to install.


  • They’re noticeable. Silver amalgam does not blend in with your other teeth, which means it can be seen when you talk or laugh.
  • It can leave a tarnish or darkish stain on your tooth.
  • Alongside tin, copper, and silver, mercury is also used to form these fillings. And while metal fillings have been designed to be completely safe compared to early fillings used in the past, some people may still feel uncomfortable receiving mercury due to the side effects it can have on your health.

Composite Resin Fillings

Receiving composite fillings in South Edmonton is a good alternative to consider. Keep in mind that no dental process is 100% perfect.


  • It blends in with your smile. You won’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed about eating or talking because no one will know that you’ve received this treatment.
  • A special UV light is employed to help the resin harden, meaning that the material dries quickly, and you won’t have to wait around at the dentist.
  • It bonds tightly to your tooth, so there’s less of a chance that it will slip out of place.


  • Even though they’re durable, they don’t typically last as long as metal fillings.
  • It can be more costly to obtain.
  • You may need to come in for more dental appointments so your dentist, especially if multiple layers of resin are needed to fill in your cavity.

Are you seeking treatment for silver amalgam or composite fillings near you? At Landmark Dental, we offer this service to all our patients. Come in and see us or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation with one of our dentists today! They’ll be able to tell you if you’re an ideal candidate for this process and if you are, they’ll help you get things started.

We look forward to hearing from you!