What are fillings?
Our bodies have the amazing ability to repair injured structures. For example, our body is able to heal a broken bone.
Unfortunately, we can’t do this when it comes to our teeth.
Hundreds of years ago (before filling materials existed), cavities frequently caused people so much pain that they would have the tooth removed.
Thankfully, modern dentistry has found a way to let you keep your decayed teeth by having the bacteria professionally removed and the hole in the tooth filled with a hard, material known as a dental filling.
There are a variety of different materials for filling teeth, the two most common being amalgam and composite resin.
What is the difference between Amalgam and Composite fillings?
Amalgam fillings are made from a metal alloy and mercury mix. The properties of this metal mix means that it can be worked with at room temperature and will subsequently harden in the mouth.
- Amalgam fillings are silver – grey and tends to darken with time.
- Amalgam fillings take up to 24 hours before it is safe to chew on them.
Composite fillings are made from resins and specially shaped particles of silica. Composites are hardened in the mouth by a special light in less than one minute.
This filling material is much more recent than Amalgam and is constantly being refined.
- Composite fillings come in many tooth coloured shades and can be matched to the individual’s natural teeth.
- Composite fillings are fully hardened well before the end of your surgery visit.
- Composite fillings are bonded to the tooth and so usually require the removal of less healthy tooth material in the treatment of the cavity.
Nowadays most people are looking for the optimum aesthetic result from their Dentistry and so the popularity of tooth matched Composite fillings is growing rapidly.
Please see our section on tooth-coloured fillings