What are Fillings?
A filling is a restorative material that when placed restores the functionality of a tooth or the aesthetic appearance. When a tooth is damaged through an injury or has decayed (a hole) a filling may be used. The fillings can be of different materials.
Amalgam a silver coloured filling. It still has its place in dentistry however many people prefer white coloured fillings (composite) as they look more natural.
What Are The Benefits?
These are all example of direct restorations and can usually be placed during one visit. In the case that the damage was greater, indirect restorations may be used. An indirect restoration includes inlays & onlays, crowns, bridges or veneers. However these alternatives are more costly as they require a laboratory technician to individually hand make them for your tooth.
How Is It Done?
Composite resin is much more aesthetically pleasing than an amalgam filling. It bonds directly to the tooth and is hence a more conservative way of restoring the tooth as less tooth is removed during the preparation. The dentist will match the colour of the composite to the shade of your natural teeth so that it is difficult to tell the difference between the two. A composite filling can be used to restore both front and back teeth. The longevity of a composite filling very much depends on the location of the filling and the strength of your ‘bite’.
Glass ionomer is tooth coloured but fairly weak. The release of fluoride from the material helps to arrest decay and strengthen the tooth. For these reasons, glass ionomers are commonly used to stabilize teeth and sometimes restore deciduous teeth. It is also used to line a very deep filling before a more permanent material is placed on top.