Dental caries (commonly known as a cavity) is a disease in the oral cavity where bacteria damages the hard tooth structure. When the tooth structure breaks down, the result is pain, infection and possible tooth loss. A dental restoration is used to restore the function, shape, appearance and integrity of the missing tooth structure. There are two types of dental restorations commonly used today: amalgam and composite.
The amalgam restoration, or “silver filling,” has been used safely in dentistry for decades. Amalgam is an alloy of metals that is mixed and packed into the cavities in teeth.
The composite, or “white filling,” is a tooth-colored restorative material that is bonded to your tooth. Most dental insurance plans do not recognize the composite restoration for posterior teeth (molars and premolars) and is not a covered service for those teeth.