Composite resin fillings, commonly known as white or tooth colored fillings, are a mixture of glass or quartz filler that provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth.
PROS: More esthetic, doesn’t contain mercury in the material, is the current industry standard to treat small to moderate tooth decay
CONS: Takes longer to do, costs more than silver, can be less durable than silver
Amalgam fillings, commonly known as silver or mercury fillings, are made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Amalgam fillings have been used for generations by dentists as they were created prior to composite fillings. Amalgam is very durable and more affordable than tooth-colored or gold fillings; however tooth-colored materials are more natural looking.
PROS: More cost effective, very durable
CONS: Not natural looking, makes the tooth appear “gray”, more tooth structure needs to be removed to place an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings, can crack your teeth over time because the filling doesn’t expand and contract with hot and cold temperatures like your teeth naturally do, not a lot of dentists carry the materials to do amalgam fillings because it is more of “a thing of the past”.