When a tooth is compromised by decay, the decayed tooth structure is removed and a filling is used to restore the tooth back to its original shape and function.
What is a filling?
Once decay has taken hold in a tooth, it will continue to damage more and more of the tooth, becoming more painful until treated by a dentist. A filling repairs the damage caused by decay and stops any more bacteria from entering the tooth. Fillings can be made of a number of different materials and can be used to repair any tooth in the mouth.
Types of fillings
  • Composite fillings are a popular and natural-looking solution made of resin.  A special laser light is then used on the composite to harden it. The finished result is very durable and is coloured to match natural teeth.
  • Amalgam fillings were the norm for many years but have fallen out of favour in recent years. Amalgam is a mix of metal alloys that are soft when being used to restore a cavity but harden once in place. Amalgam contains minute traces of mercury and this has turned many people away from the product. It’s also a dark colour that stands out in stark contrast to the surrounding tooth.
  • Gold fillings are a long-lasting and durable alternative but are rarely used these days. The cost of a gold filling is generally higher than a silver amalgam and the colour doesn’t match natural teeth.
  • Porcelain is used to make onlays and inlays – restorations that are used when a large amount of tooth structure has been removed. Onlays and inlays retain more natural tooth structure than a crown and will strengthen a weakened tooth. Modern technology has made it possible for these restorations to be manufactured in your dentist’s surgery.