There are a number of different fillings including:
Composite fillings (tooth coloured)
These are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. Composite fillings are strong, actively bond to the remaining tooth and more aesthetic. Your dentist will choose a shade to match your existing teeth and if they adopt a stratified or layered opacity approach then the filling can become totally indistinguishable from the rest of the tooth, making you believe that there was no hole there at all. For these reasons, the public is now demanding ‘white’.
Amalgam (silver coloured)
These are made by combining mercury with silver, tin and copper alloy. Amalgam is long lasting and hard wearing and has been used in fillings for at least 150 years. This kind of filling is normally used on the back teeth.
Glass ionomer (tooth coloured)
These form a chemical link with the tooth and can also release fluoride, which helps to prevent further tooth decay. This type of filling is fairly weak and wears away fairly quickly, therefore because of this, is usually limited to use on baby teeth, non-biting surfaces and as an interim restoration.
Gold inlays and onlays (gold coloured)
An inlay is small and secured within the biting surface of the tooth. An onlay can cover a larger area of the tooth and always covers the whole biting surface of the tooth. Gold is long lasting and hard wearing. An impression of the prepared cavity is required as gold fillings are only made in a dental laboratory. This type of restoration is more expensive than a filling.
Porcelain inlays and onlays (tooth coloured)
Porcelain inlays and onlays can be made in a laboratory or using digital technology within the surgery. Porcelain is hard wearing, long lasting and also has the benefit of being able to be coloured to match your natural teeth, hence blending into it’s environment. Again, compared to a straight forward filling this restoration is more expensive.
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