The Difference Between Tooth-Colored Fillings and Metal Fillings

Many different factors contribute to tooth decay. Eating and drinking different types of foods is the biggest one. Certain drugs also contribute, as can other habits like smoking. If you have to get a filling, there are different types of tooth filling material you can choose from, and different factors to consider when choosing them.

Gold fillings

This tooth filling material is made in a laboratory and cemented into place. However, it's one of the most expensive types of fillings and requires multiple visits.


Amalgam (silver) fillings

They resist wear and they're inexpensive.

Composite (plastic) resins - They're matched to the same color as your teeth and look more natural. The dentist mixes the ingredients and places them in the cavity. They aren't good for large fillings, because they may chip or wear over time. Patients who drink coffee or tea may end up with stained fillings over time.

Porcelain fillings

These are called inlays or on-lays. They are custom-made in a lab, then placed on the tooth. They cost as much as a gold filling.

What is the difference between tooth colored fillings and metal fillings?

There are three main differences between tooth-colored fillings and metal fillings:


Gold and porcelain fillings are the most expensive; if you're on a budget, you may want to consider plastic or amalgam fillings.


Gold and porcelain fillings last longer than composite or amalgam fillings.

Number of visits needed:

Gold fillings usually require more than one visit to put in; the others only need one visit.

How do I decide which type of material is best for me?

Ask yourself these questions:

If I have dental insurance, how much of the cost will it cover? Your dental insurance may cover the entire cost of the filling, or you may have to pay a portion of it.

How much am I willing to pay out of pocket? If you can pay more out of pocket, and your filling isn't in a noticeable area of your mouth, you may want to choose a more expensive option.

Where is the filling going to be placed? If it's going to be in a noticeable area, you might want to consider plastic or ceramic fillings, since they can be matched to the color of your teeth.

How long does the filling need to last? Depending on your age, you may want the filling to last a long time before it has to be re-done. If so, consider a gold or porcelain filling, depending on your answers to the other questions.

These are the factors you should consider when looking at the type of tooth filling material you want for your filling. If you're concerned about the cost of the procedure and the filling itself, you may want to ask your dentist if they offer for the portion of the procedure you have to pay for.

We are here to help you have the most healthy mouth you possibly can. Check out how you can protect yourself from tooth decay here!