A dental filling is a type of restorative dentistry treatment used to repair minimal tooth fractures, tooth decay or otherwise damaged surfaces of the teeth. The doctor first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. Dental filling materials, which include composite, porcelain and silver amalgam, may be used to close off spaces where bacteria can enter, and finally the doctor will make sure the filling material is evenly spread out in your tooth for better biting or chewing.

There are a variety of different materials that can be used for filling teeth. Among them the two most common filling materials are amalgam and composite resin.

Amalgam fillings, also called silver fillings, are a mixture of mercury and other metals. Dentists may use this type of filling in back teeth, or molars, because of its strength and durability. Amalgam can be placed in the front teeth, but it generally is not used in the front teeth due to a less esthetic look.

Composite fillings, also called tooth-colored fillings, can consist of a few different types of materials that include powdered glass-like particles and acrylics. Dentists can use composite fillings on any tooth. However, they may not always be used depending on the location of the filling. Composite fillings are more cosmetically pleasing than amalgam fillings because they match the tooth's color.

We will be happy to discuss the options open to you, and together we can decide on the kind of dental filling material that will be best for you.

Dr. Wang's Tips

  • Silver Fillings or White Fillings? Some factors to consider:

    • Amalgam fillings are stronger than composite fillings.
    • Composite fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings.
    • Amalgam fillings last longer than composite fillings.
    • Amalgam fillings contain mercury
  • How long do fillings last?

    In general, fillings can last about ten years. They do need to be checked regularly by a dental professional to make sure that there is no damage or further decay in the surrounding area.