Dental Fillings – The Differences

There are various filling types:  Amalgam, Composite, Glass ionomer, Gold inlays and onlays and Porcelain inlays.


Amalgam fillings are silver in colour, made up of a combination of mercury and silver alloy. The mercury is non hazardous once combined with the silver alloy and causes no harm to patients. This type of filling is long lasting – around 15-20 years on average. Amalgam fillings are not uncommon and have been used for the last 150 years in dentistry. This type of filling is best for back teeth , used on the ‘chewing teeth’ which often show signs of wear because of their function.  These fillings are noticeable because of their silver colouring.  If your tooth is badly broken your dentist may place a small steel pin to help secure the amalgam filling. 

Composite fillings 

Composite fillings are tooth coloured fillings made up of ceramic particles. They are not as strong as amalgam fillings but are not noticeable as they resemble tooth material, so they blend in well with your teeth. Your dentist will match the filling to the shade of colour your teeth are and the filling will be bonded.  This type of filling is ideal for your front teeth as there is no adverse effect the aesthetics of your smile. 

Glass ionomers

Glass ionomers chemically bond with your teeth and release fluoride, which helps prevent further tooth decay. They are not particularly strong, yet little preparation is needed as the filling bonds directly to the surface of the teeth. This type of filling is perfect for non biting teeth. 

Gold inlays and onlays 

Gold inlays are specifically for the biting surface of the tooth, whereas gold onlays cover a wider area of the tooth. Gold as a material is the strongest for a filling, although they are more expensive. Gold fillings are made in a laboratory, so your dentist will take an impression of the cavity, send it to the lab and have a filling engineered to fit perfectly. This will then be attached with dental cement. Gold fillings, although expensive, are popular in celebrity culture. 

You can rely on your dentist to help you decide which type of filling is best for you.  Just contact The Mall Stockport for an appointment.

Related Posts

How to care for your dental implants.

For many people, dental implants are their second chance to have a healthy, natural-looking smile. But just because you have replacement teeth doesn’t mean that

Manchester Practice

Pall Mall,


M2 4DL

Stockport Practice

10 Vernon St,



Copyright 2022 The Mall Dental