The two most common filling materials are silver and composite resin. Although silver was the most commonly used material, it has been replaced with composite resin. Some studies indicate a very small amount of mercury vapor may be emitted from the silver fillings. Although mercury is a known toxin, the small levels of mercury emitted, as noted in some studies have not been shown conclusively to cause health problems. Many people, however, feel it is not wise to be exposed to any level of a toxic material.
Even with the lack of conclusive evidence suggesting that silver fillings are harmful to our helath, many states are currently attempting to pass laws that will restrict the use of silver amalgam fillings entirely. We feel that over the next few years, there will be a significatnt reduction in the use of silver fillings, if not a complete ban.
Because of the “potential” risks amd esthetic issues, most people are opting for alternative materials for fillings. These include tooth colored “composite” fillings, porcelain fillings, or gold fillings. Porcelain and gold fillings are excellent, although not as cost effective for smaller fillings. Composite fillings have the advantage of being more esthetic than silver, and more cost effective than porcelain or gold. If the filling is very wide or deep, then a porcelain or gold filling may be a better option, or sometimes a crown would be required.