A dental filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
Composite resin fillings (white fillings) are custom-made to the exact colour of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. Your tooth can be restored to its original function with an aesthetically pleasing result.
Composite restorations are used on anterior and posterior (front and back) teeth. They are made of a mixture of acrylic materials and resin plastics.
The advantage of the restoration is that they match the tooth colour and are aesthetically pleasing. They are also capable of bonding directly to the tooth structure, reducing the amount of enamel reduction and the possibility of leakage.
The composite resin material changes from a plastic state to a hardened restoration under a high intensity fiber-optic light (not ultraviolet). This process is called photopolymerisation.
While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years. They may not be ideal for large fillings, as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.
Consult with your dentist to discuss the best treatment options for you.
Amalgam (silver) fillings are used to repair decayed teeth. Amalgam is made of several metals, principally silver, tin and copper. These are combined, using mercury, into a soft mixture.
A band is placed around the tooth and the mixture is placed into the tooth and compacted as it sets. The dentist carves the new restoration to match the surrounding anatomy of the tooth, and it is left to cure fully. This takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
After a silver filling, we recommend that you do not eat for an hour and you avoid eating on that tooth for a full day.
Silver fillings are a more affordable choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark colour, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are usually not placed in very visible areas, such as front teeth.