A dental filling is a procedure used to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal shape and function. When this dental treatment is performed, the affected area is first numbed with a local anesthetic. The dentist will then remove the decay and clean the tooth surface before filling the cavity with a filling material.
Types of Fillings:
- Dental Amalgam – commonly called “Silver Fillings”
- Composite Resin – commonly called “White” or “Tooth-Colored Fillings”
Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings, which are a blend of various metals, were used successfully by dentists for many years. However, technology has improved dramatically over time, and we now have the ability to create strong and beautiful restorations using the newer composite resin material. In fact, with just a few exceptions, most cavities can be filled using the tooth-colored resin. This material is available in a variety of shades and color blends designed to match the natural shade of your teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings:
- Composite fillings have superior esthetics that make the tooth colored fillings indiscernible to the untrained eye.
- Because they are a bonded to the tooth, composite fillings allow us to retain more healthy tooth structure.
- Unlike amalgams, composite fillings do not contain mercury.
- Although the ADA and FDA have determined that the small amount of mercury in silver fillings causes no adverse health affects, there are still people who prefer an alternative.
- Metal fillings are more susceptible to temperature changes that can cause them to contract and expand which leads to fracture.
- Some composite resins can contain fluoride which can help prevent decay.