Generally there are two types of dental fillings: amalgam and composite resin, each of which has different characteristics and indications for use.
Composites are essentially a combination of glass particles and plastic that resemble tooth structure. They come in many shades in order to give a natural appearance, and they are bonded to the tooth via an adhesive. Composites are used for fillings in the front teeth, and in certain situations in back teeth. They work well for small and medium sized cavities, but are not recommend for large fillings or those that go far below the gums as these will not last as long as amalgams.
Amalgams are usually the most durable filling material and have been in use for over 100 years. They are a mixture of silver, mercury, tin and copper, and they are less technique-sensitive and easier to place. Amalgam, although an excellent filling material in many situations, does not look as good as composite resins.
Dr. Davis will review the pros/cons of the materials and discuss your preference with you so you can make the best decision.