Composite material is a mixture of tooth-colored plastic and glass. The shade or color of composite fillings can be matched to your teeth so they become mostly invisible. It is used to fill cavities and also to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth
Advantages - Color can be matched to natural tooth color. It chemically bonds to tooth structure and less of the tooth structure needs to be removed before filling. Composite material is more versatile and can be used for other repairs besides cavities.
Disadvantages - Composite fillings may need to be replaced after about five years. It may also require more time to prepare the for filling.
Amalgam or silver amalgam fillings contain several metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper where mercury makes up about 50% of the compound and is necessary to bind the metals together to provide a strong, hard, durable filling.
Advantages – Amalgam fillings are strong and can last from 15-20 years and are less expensive than composites. The tooth preparation time is less for amalgam fillings.
Disadvantages – In dental fillings, a mercury vapor is continuously released and inhaled into the lungs and ultimately to the whole body. The more amalgam fillings you have, the more mercury vapor you are inhaling. When you open your mouth, you see a mouth full of silver metal.
Research has shown that mercury and other metals, if built up in the body, can contribute to health problems. While there have been no conclusions that prove mercury in fillings cause harm in the majority of the population, some people can be at risk for health problems from mercury and other metal poisoning. Composite fillings have been determined completely safe by the American Dental Association. Do you want to take a chance?