The composite resin (tooth colour) fillings have come a long way in recent years. Their strength and longevity are comparable to that of the silver fillings, but with much-enhanced aesthetics. The dentist has the capability to match the filling exactly to the shade and colour of your tooth so that no one else will know you had a cavity.
Another advantage of tooth-colour restorations is that the preparation is relatively conservative. Only decay is removed, and the filling is then bonded to the area that has been prepared. Silver fillings do not have the same bonding capacity, and therefore rely on mechanical retention to hold the filling in place.
Since 1990, when “60 Minutes” ran a story on the alleged risks of a dental amalgam (silver mercury fillings), there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage. Mercury constitutes approximately 50% of dental amalgams, and trace amount of mercury vapour escape in the process of chewing. However, research conducted by the scientific community has concluded that there no serious health risks associated with silver fillings. Most dentists utilize mostly the composite resin fillings because they are more conservative in term of reducing tooth structure and because they are more aesthetically pleasing.