5 Common Types of Dental Fillings

5 Common Types of Dental Fillings

Tooth decay and cavities put your dental health at risk. To protect and preserve the tooth, dentists use dental fillings. Dental fillings are medicated and biocompatible materials that stop tooth decay and cavitation and strengthen it. We have different types of fillings which are used and suitable for different dental situations. Let’s understand all the types of dental fillings in detail. 

What are the Different Types of Dental Fillings?

There are about 5 different types of dental fillings. The common dental fillings are:

  1. Composite fillings
  2. Amalgam fillings
  3. Ceramic or porcelain fillings
  4. GIC – Glass Ionomer Ceramic fillings
  5. Gold fillings

We will go through all the types of dental fillings and discuss their aspects one by one.

What are Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored adhesive resins. They can be directly applied to the decayed, broken, or cavitated tooth. Composite is considered to be an ideal filling material. These fillings are widely used because of their aesthetics. These are most preferred in the anterior teeth because these teeth are prominently visible when you smile.


Composite can’t stick to the tooth surface themselves. First, the decayed and cavitated part of the tooth is removed. Once that is done, a small part of a healthy tooth is shaved, and cleaning is done. Then, an etchant is applied for 10-20 seconds. This creates tiny porosities within the structure. It’s then washed away, and the tooth is dried. 

Next, the bonding agent is applied, and a UV light source is used to fix it. After that, the composite is placed in small amounts. If it’s not placed in increments, its strength is affected and reduced. Once it is molded according to the tooth’s shape, it’s bonded to its position with the help of UV light. This process is followed by polishing of the restoration


Composite filling costs about $150 to $400 for one or two surfaces.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings are commonly known as silver fillings. These fillings are usually a combination of copper, silver, and mercury. Their strength and durability is appreciable. 

However, amalgam fillings are not used in anterior teeth because they are not esthetic. Nowadays, many dentists do not prefer using amalgam fillings because of their mercury content. The use of mercury is degraded because of its adverse effects. These adverse effects include:

  • irritation to the eyes
  • skin issues
  • stomach problems
  • cough
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • indecision
  • headache
  • weakness or exhaustion
  • weight loss


The procedure of amalgam is simple. Amalgam is stored in amalgam capsules to prevent mercury spillage. Before use, it is put in a machine where it activates. The activated amalgam is placed within the prepared and cavity-free tooth. It is treated mechanically, unlike composite. Once it is set, the restoration is polished. If it is not polished properly, the rough surface can initiate new cavity formation.


Amalgam fillings are cheaper than other different tooth fillings. The price ranges between $50 to $400. The cost increases with the increase in tooth surfaces, which need to be restored. 

What are Ceramic Fillings?

Ceramic fillings are ceramic or porcelain replacements for missing tooth structures that are attached to the remaining tooth structure. These are also known as porcelain fillings. The durability and strength of ceramic fillings is commendable. There are further types of ceramic fillings, including:

  • porcelain inlays
  • porcelain onlays
  • ceramic overlays


During the initial appointment, the decayed or cavitated tooth is extracted. The remaining tooth structure is cleaned. An impression is made of the missing tooth portion. 

Following this, the porcelain filling is created in the lab using the impression. The filling is applied to the patient’s teeth before it is repaired. If it settles properly, it becomes permanently cemented to the tooth. 


A single porcelain or ceramic filling costs about $250 to $1500, depending upon the tooth structure to be restored. 

What are Gold Fillings?

Gold fillings are the most expensive yet strong tooth fillings. It is a permanent tooth-filling material that contains 3/4ths of gold, and the remaining 1/4th is represented by other metals. Other metals include copper, palladium, etc. These fillings last up to fifteen to twenty years or more. 

Gold fillings were a status symbol in the past. However, nowadays, people prefer resin fillings over gold. 


The cost of gold fillings varies between $300 to $1800. The cost depends upon the number of tooth surfaces that require restoration.

What are GIC Fillings?

Glass ionomer cement is a dental filling composed of glass and acrylic. GIC is a very aesthetic and ideal filling for small-sized cavities. These temporary fillings are later replaced by permanent filling materials like amalgam, porcelain, or composite. These fillings are most common for pediatric teeth. These fillings last for less than 5 years. Hence, these are only used temporarily in adults.


Cleaning and drying the tooth comes first. Then, isolating it and applying a bonding solution helps with bonding. After washing and drying the solution, placing the glass ionomer filling in the cavity follows. Lastly, a polish is applied to the filling for a smooth finish.


GIC fillings cost between $150 to $300 for one to three surfaces. GIC fillings are cheaper temporary fillings used between dental appointments for adults. However, they can be used for pediatric patients for their primary teeth. 


By now, you must have understood the different types of dental fillings. Each type has its specifications, pros, and cons, which have been discussed thoroughly. Amalgam fillings are almost obsolete, while composite fillings are on the rise. Gold and porcelain fillings also have their applications but lie on the slightly expensive side. 

If you’re looking for dental filling experts in Montclair, NJ, look no further than Dr. Arthur Yeh and Associates. Irrespective of the type of dental fillings, our dentists will provide you with optimal dental services to preserve and strengthen your teeth. 

From filling selection to after-care, we’ll help you throughout the process. Book an appointment today!