If part of a tooth has been lost through decay or damaged due to an accident, your dentist may put in a filling. A filling will plug the hole and stop any future pain or discomfort. A filling can be made out of a variety of materials. The most common of these are amalgam (silver) or composite (white).
Silver fillings are made of a material called amalgam, which is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, copper, and other metals. Amalgam fillings are very hardwearing which is why they are often put into the back chewing teeth.
When a tooth has been damaged by dental decay it may require a filling. Quite often people ask the question "Why do I need a filling if I don't have any pain?"- this is a fair question. If a patient attends with aching pain it is unfortunately too late to treat the tooth with a simple filling. It requires more extensive treatment to correct the problem. If a cavity can be filled at an early stage, before the tooth begins to give pain, this prevents decay entering the nerve of the tooth. It also prevents the pain, stress and root canal treatment or extraction which usually follows.
Composite (White) Fillings
Composite fillings are becoming increasingly popular over the past decade as a way of filling any tooth that has decay. The technology and materials have improved dramatically, allowing them to be used as an effective alternative to amalgam (metal) fillings in small and medium-sized cavities.
Composite (Metal) Fillings
Amalgam fillings have been used for decades to restore teeth that have decay present. It is a very effective material and is still most suitable for teeth that have large cavities. It is also used to support dental crowns.
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