When Hendricks County residents have tooth decay and need a filling, they have a several material choices to fill their cavity. However, dental amalgam and resin composite are typically the two main choices for filling materials. To help you understand the difference between dental amalgam and resin composite fillings, here is some information from Danville Family Dentistry about these types of fillings and the benefits and drawbacks of each option.

What Are Dental Amalgam and Resin Composite Fillings?

Most Hendricks County patients know dental amalgam fillings as silver fillings. Dental amalgam fillings contain a mixture of silver, tin, copper, and mercury.
Resin composite fillings are made of acrylic and powdered glass compounds.

What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Filling Type?

Some of the key benefits and drawbacks of amalgam and resin composite fillings include:


Dental amalgam fillings are silver colored. Over time, they can darken until they look black. Additionally, the amalgam material can leach out into the teeth, making them appear silver gray in color.
Resin composite fillings can be colored to match your teeth. Therefore, composite fillings look more like natural teeth. However, the resin composite can change colors slightly if you drink or eat tea, coffee, or other foods that stain.

Filling Placement

Dental amalgam is easier for dentists like Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry to work with. It can easily and quickly be placed into a tooth cavity. Dental amalgam isn’t sensitive to moisture; therefore, it’s a good material to use in molars or cavities below the gum line.
Resin composite fillings don’t tolerate any water, so the tooth must be kept as dry as possible during the placement procedure. If the composite gets wet, it can slow the bonding process and reduce the longevity of the filling. The composite material also requires the use of a UV light to harden it. Therefore, it can take longer for Dr. Erickson to place a composite filling compared to a silver filling.

Tooth Bond

Resin composite fillings form a bond with the tooth, stopping decay from creeping in. They also provide a stronger tooth structure that prevents tooth breakage. Amalgam fillings only fill the area of the cavity.


While prices can vary, generally, resin composite fillings cost more than amalgam fillings.


Dental amalgam fillings are more durable than resin composite fillings. Per studies, amalgam fillings have an average lifespan of almost 13 years, compared to 8 years for resin composite fillings. However, with proper care and maintenance, amalgam fillings can last up to 20 years while resin composite fillings can last up to 10 years.

Mercury Concerns

Some Hendricks County patients may have concerns about the mercury content in dental amalgam fillings. Mercury makes up about 45% to 50% of an amalgam filling. According to scientific studies conducted over the past 100 years, the American Dental Association says amalgam fillings are completely safe.

Deciding with Filling Material to Choose

If you have tooth pain and suspect you may have a cavity, contact Danville Family Dentistry at 317-745-4400 to schedule a dental exam. If Dr. Erickson decides you need a filling, he can talk with you about each filling type and help you decide which is the best treatment option for your situation.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.