When treating a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill it with another substance, or “filling”. There are several materials that can be used for dental fillings, the most common of which is a tooth colored or composite filling. Amalgams or “silver” fillings have fallen out of favor because they are unaesthetic, tend to cause fractures within the remaining tooth structure, and because they contain mercury.
A composite filling is matched to the shade of your natural tooth, making it nearly undetectable. They also provide good durability for small to medium cavities, and the procedure typically involves removing less tooth structure than you would when placing an amalgam filling. Aside from their natural appearance, the fact they are bonded to the tooth makes them highly desirable because they can literally prevent tooth fractures. They are also particularly well suited for treating front or highly visible teeth because of their natural look.