4 Types of Dental Filling Material

4 Types of Dental Filling Material

When you have a cavity, your dentist treats it with a filling material to prevent further decay. But not all fillings are made of the same material. 

At K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group in Washington, DC, our team of dental professionals are dental filling specialists who can help you understand the complexities of each type of filling, which vary in material and complexity.

Types of fillings

We fill your cavities with different materials and in one of two ways:

Direct filling

We place direct fillings into the damaged portion of your tooth after we have cleaned out the decayed area. We shape the cavity hole to prepare it to hold the filling material, such as silver or composite resin, applying the material in layers. 

We then apply a bonding material to keep the filling sealed to protect your tooth from further decay. For the last step, we shape it to comfortably fit.

Indirect filling

An indirect filling involves placing a custom filling that’s made from a mold of your damaged tooth. This type of filling also requires more than one visit to our office. 

There are two types: inlays, which require repair within the cusps or bumps on the chewing surface of your tooth, and onlays, which cover one or more of your cusps and are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.

Understanding your filling material options

At our practice, we offer the following four types of fillings:


Gold fillings are combined with other metals and provide an extremely durable option, lasting 10-15 years and even longer in some cases. They don’t corrode or stain and can withstand all levels of chewing.

Some of our patients prefer the appearance of gold rather than silver when considering metal-colored fillings.

Silver (amalgam)

Silver fillings are also highly durable, lasting the same amount of time as gold fillings, 10-15 years or longer. They’re an affordable option and are best used to fill cavities in your molars, where they aren’t as noticeable.


This tooth-colored material can be combined with metal for added strength and can also resist stains better than composite resin fillings.

Composite resins (plastic, glass)

You might like composite resin fillings because they closely match the color of your natural teeth, making them a good choice for cavities that are visible. This type also may not require as much removal of your tooth when compared to amalgam fillings.

We offer different types of fillings because each has its benefits. We consider your needs and preferences, in addition to the location of your tooth’s decay.

To learn more about your filling options, call our friendly office staff today. If you have questions before your appointment, feel free to send a message to our team at K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group.

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