Dental fillings are used to restore missing tooth structure by filling the cavity (hole). Typically, we’ll remove the decayed portion of your tooth and then fill the area with the most suitable filling material.
Cavities are usually the result of tooth decay but other causes include cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been damaged by nail-biting, tooth grinding or trauma.
What are the different types of fillings?
1. Amalgam (silver)
These are the most common type of silver-coloured fillings. They contain a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Although they offer strength and durability, some people don’t like the way they look.
Some people find gold fillings more aesthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings. They may cost more than amalgam fillings, but when used and maintained correctly they can last a very long time.
3. Composite (tooth coloured)
Fillings made of a tooth-coloured composite (powdered glass and ceramic added to a resin base) are popular because their colour can be matched to your teeth. Despite advances in technology, composite fillings are not quite as durable as amalgam fillings and they may need to be replaced more frequently. They’re also more expensive than amalgam fillings.
4. Ceramic (tooth coloured)
Ceramic fillings are often made of porcelain, which makes them durable and aesthetically pleasing. Usually, they have to be carefully made by a dental technician and so can be more expensive than composite fillings. They are however very strong which makes them suitable for larger cavities.
5. Glass ionomers
These fillings are often a good choice for children as they can release fluoride, which can help prevent further tooth decay. They’re rarely used on the biting surface of adult teeth as they can wear more rapidly than other types of filling material.
When would you recommend a tooth-coloured filling?
If you would like your fillings to match the colour of your teeth then it is most likely a tooth-coloured filling will be your best option. We can even blend shades so they’ll precisely match your tooth colour.
- They look natural
- They are a quick and affordable way to correct dental flaws
- The procedure is entirely safe – it’s exactly the same as having silver fillings
- They bond to the teeth to prevent breakages
Why don’t tooth-coloured fillings last as long as amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings have always been considered more durable than tooth-coloured fillings because metal is generally a stronger, more robust material. However, the latest composite materials now mean that tooth-coloured fillings last longer than ever before. How long your tooth-coloured filling lasts will depend on its location within your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. We can offer expert advice on all these issues.
What can happen to a filling after it’s fitted?
Fillings, regardless of colour, are not indestructible. They can fall out, crack or leak, especially if decay develops around them. The good news is that we can repair your fillings in all these cases.