Amalgam filling, which is the most commonly used restorative material in the history of dentistry, is also known as silver-colored filling. Amalgam is obtained by mixing silver, tin and copper alloy with mercury. Mercury, which forms 45-50% of the mixture, binds the metals together and forms a durable filling material. In recent years, various publications have been released, stating that mercury in amalgam is harmful to human health. It is not a preferred modality of treatment because it causes an aesthetically poor appearance and contains mercury. Removal of the existing amalgam fillings in the mouth should be done carefully by wearing rubber covers, called rubber-dam, and through surgical aspiration in order to prevent the swallowing of mercury.
Composite fillings consist of inorganic filler particles of various sizes, such as quartz, borosilicate glass, lithium, aluminum silicate, distributed in an organic matrix. Composite fillings were first developed in 1962 as an alternative to amalgam. Upon the discovery of composite fillers polymerized with light in the 1970s, the physical properties of the composite were further improved, and their use became widespread.
Composite fillings, which were first used only for the anterior teeth restorations due to their aesthetic appearances, are now used safely for the treatment of the posterior teeth following an increase in their filler contents and physical durability. Composite fillings are safely preferred due to their advantages such as being available in a variety of colors that fit the tooth color, supporting the tooth by being bonded to the tooth tissue, low thermal conductivity, reduced edge leaks, and a restoration process being completed in one session.
Aesthetic composite fillings can be used as more affordable alternatives to porcelain laminates in cases where small corrections are required for reasons such as color, shape, fractures in the anterior teeth.
Porcelain fillings, which are used in cases where there is a high loss of substance in the teeth, reduce the risk of fracture in the restoration and protect the remaining dental tissues, are used as an alternative to amalgam and composite fillings. These procedures, which previously required multiple sessions, can be completed in 1-2 hours in a single session by the use of computer-aided manufacturing systems. Porcelain fillings are superior to amalgam and composite fillings due to their adhesive bonding properties, aesthetic appearances, and high fracture resistance. Moreover, since porcelain fillings are shaped by computers and polished outside the mouth, it is possible to obtain perfect closures and contacts.