Historically, amalgam fillings, sometimes referred to as silver filling, have been the most commonly placed filling material. The major component of amalgam is mercury, not silver; and the distinctive coloration can make it very noticeable in the mouth.
Until recently, dental patients were often told that cosmetically superior tooth-colored restorations were not as durable as traditional metal-based restorations. This philosophy is now possible. With the modern technologies of dental adhesion, resins, lasers, and the state-of-the-art ceramics, new tooth-colored restorations are close to rivalling a natural tooth in strength, wear and function, and appearance.
There are now sixteen-year studies showing that with properly administered techniques, these advanced restorations surpass traditional dentistry. With these new materials, it is possible to bond teeth back together, virtually restoring them to their virgin strength without invasiveness of full-coverage crowns. As a result, in the majority of circumstances, metal fillings and crowns can be replaced with cosmetically superior tooth-colored restorations that won’t detract from a vibrant smile.