Dental Fillings or Filling Replacements
Dental fillings or dental
restorations are materials used to restore
the function and form of missing tooth structure.
The structural loss is often due to caries
(decay) or external trauma.
The most common materials
for restoring or filling teeth are Amalgam
(known as silver fillings) or Composite
Resin (known as plastic or white fillings).
Also, less commonly used are gold, ceramic
and glass ionomer materials.
We will discuss the two
most common materials, Composite Resin and
Composite Resin or white
fillings are formed from polymers making
a hard plastic. Fillers such as quartz and
silica are placed with the polymers to give
- composite resin bonds to the tooth and
therefore helps to restore most of the
original strength of the tooth.
- restores the natural appearance of the
- requires less removal of the tooth structure
vs other filling materials.
- can be technique sensitive ie: needs moisture
Dental Amalgam fillings
known as silver fillings are often used
to fill back teeth. They are made of a mix
of metals such as mercury, silver copper
and tin. This material has been used for
more than 150 years.
- least expensive filling material
- long lasting
- easy to place in tooth
- silver colour may not appeal to those
who want teeth to look "natural"
- very small amounts of mercury are released
when chewing. For most people, this amount
released is nothing to worry about. Studies
show that amalgam fillings do not cause
illness, despite some unwarranted reports.
In conclusion, you and
your dentist should decide together which
filling material will work best. Your dentist
will advise you if the material that you
want will work.