What’s Wrong with Metal Fillings?

Although metal fillings have been a significant part of restorative dentistry for over a century, they’ve also been surrounded by a bit of controversy for numerous reasons. One of many people’s concerns is the mercury that dental amalgam contains. Although the American Dental Association (ADA) assures that the restorative material is safe, there remain several disadvantages to metal fillings when compared to composite resin ones. Besides their appearance, tooth-colored fillings are also kinder to your natural tooth structure, which makes for a more durable and effective restoration.

An Amalgam of Controversy

When metal dental amalgam was first introduced into the United States in the 1800s, it was both hailed as an affordable alternative to more expensive gold, and ridiculed as utterly dangerous to a patient’s health. Some dentists, and the patients who could finally afford to treat cavities before they lost their teeth, paid no heed to the warnings. Years afterwards, patients with amalgam fillings exhibited no negative side effects, and eventually, they became a widely accepted and popular method of treating cavities.

Tangible Disadvantages of Metal Fillings

While typically safe and effective, metal fillings possess several characteristics that still make them less than ideal in many cases. Cosmetically, the amalgam’s silver appearance will contrast sharply with the tooth’s white color. Functionally, metal can have difficulty bonding to your tooth’s structure, and may fail by separating from the tooth and allowing bacteria to infect it again. If exposed to extreme heat, a metal filling may even expand, damaging your tooth further.

The Tooth-Colored Solution

In the late 20th century, tooth fillings received another facelift with the advent of tooth-colored composite resin. Made from a mixture of acrylic particles, the resin is tinted to match your tooth’s shade, then applied as a liquid and hardened once it conforms to the cavity’s shape. For a more secure seal against oral bacteria, the resin can also be bonded firmly to your tooth’s structure,


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.