Amalgam or Porcelain Fillings: Which is Best for You?

Amalgam or Porcelain Fillings: Which is Best for You?

Dental fillings are among the most popular treatments recommended to people with cavities. Both are popular because they are effective at restoring tooth function and preventing further decay. And, while new filling materials are being approved, amalgam and porcelain dominate the industry. There are differences between the two, though. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of amalgam and porcelain filings.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam is a mixture of metals such as mercury, silver copper and tin. It also contains small amounts of zinc, palladium and indium. Amalgam fillings have been in use for over 150 years.


  • They are inexpensive compared to porcelain fillings.
  • They are easy to apply; the dentist can complete the filling with one patient visit.
  • Since they are made of metals, these fillings are fairly strong and long-lasting.


  • After placement, amalgam fillings are known to cause great hot and cold sensitivity. This subsides after a few weeks.
  • In some instances, patients become allergic to the some component in the amalgam. The allergic reaction presents itself as an itchy skin rash. If this happens, substitution may be necessary.
  • Amalgam fillings are not good for pregnant women due to the presence of mercury.
  • They are unattractive.

Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain fillings come from (you guessed it) porcelain. Porcelain is a white, glass-like, non-porous, translucent ceramic material. These fillings are known to offer some advantages to amalgam fillings.

Porcelain fillings have aesthetically pleasing results. The material matches the natural color of your teeth.


  • They help to preserve the natural structure of your teeth.
  • They are not affected by the rise and fall in temperature like amalgam.
  • Porcelain fillings are strong and durable.
  • They can withstand stronger chewing forces.


  • They can fail to merge with the opposing teeth, causing an uneven surface on the teeth.
  • The adjacent healthy tooth will chip to accommodate the porcelain filling.
  • Some people might become allergic to the material used in the filling.

Now you have a quick comparison of the two most common filling materials. Whichever dental filling method you decide to use, make sure you get advice from a qualified dentist. A good dentist will help you find the best tooth filling material.

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