Fillings are used to repair a tooth damaged by decay. The part of the tooth that has decayed is carefully removed by the dentist and a restorative filler is used to fill the hole and restore the shape, strength and function of the tooth.
Amalgam Fillings / Metal Fillings
Amalgam fillings are traditional metal fillings. The amalgam is made from a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper. Metal fillings have been used for a long time and can be used for all types of fillings. The amalgam is easy to shape and apply to the tooth. It is also strong, hard and long lasting. Typically, an amalgam or metal filling will last 12 years.
Composite Fillings / White Fillings
Composite fillings, or white fillings, are made from acrylic resin which can be made to match the colour and translucency of your teeth and are therefore much more aesthetically pleasing. These fillings are softer than amalgam and less hard wearing. A composite filling typically lasts 7 years. Composite fillings are only suitable for small to medium repairs, not having the necessary strength to be used for large fillings.
Where the damage or decay to the tooth is extensive, more complex restorations may be necessary. In these cases amalgam, composite, cement and porcelain may be combined for different purposes in order to give your tooth the best result. A veneer, an inlay, an onlay, a crown or even a root canal may be recommended.
Your dentist will offer the most appropriate type of filling according to your clinical needs.