There is really no debate over whether or not white fillings look better than amalgam (silver) fillings. Cosmetically, white fillings are univerally preferred. This begs the question, then, why don't all dentists use white fillings all the time?
There are a few advantages to amalgam fillings.
They cost less than white fillings. It takes about half again as long to properly place white fillings. Extra time in the chair and more expensive materials creates a more costly procedure. Dental insurance companies do not always pick up the extra cost for these white fillings, leaving patients to cover the remaining balance.
No exrta training is required of the dentist to place amalgam fillings.
Amalgam fillings have a longer history than white fillings.
Other than the question of cost, this list seems to chiefly indicate advantages to the dentist in terms of ease of placement. The convenience of the dentist should never be the first consideration when choosing treatment options.
Advantages of White Fillings
White fillings create a stronger end result. Though the composite material is not as strong as amalgam, it bonds with the tooth to make a stronger unit, while the amalgam actually weakens the remaining tooth structure.
The composite material does not contain potentially toxic material. Research is still inconclusive on whether or not the mercury in amalgam fillings is harmful, but most people would rather not take the risk.
Many dentists will no longer place amalgam fillings.
Perhaps the most compelling argument is not verbal, but visual. Which would you rather have in your mouth?