Composite fillings are the most widely used, because of their excellence appearance, they are made from a plastic resin and filler, and bonded to the tooth. A range of shades is available so that the colour of your teeth can be matched very closely, making them almost impossible to see.
Glass ionomer fillings are another high quality material especially suitable for areas where strength is less important, such as the gum line, and in the children’s molars. They also release fluoride gradually which will prevent the reoccurrence of tooth decay.
Amalgam fillings have been the most widely used, time tested and cost effective material for fillings in back teeth. Their disadvantage is their metal appearance.
Composite fillings are tooth coloured and can be used for back teeth. Nowadays, large composite fillings are as good and as durable as amalgam, and they are more expensive, but this should be weighed up against their excellent appearance and any concerns you may have about mercury release. Composites are very effective if they involve only one or two surfaces of the tooth and are small in size.
Gold or porcelain inlays and overlays are very effective filling materials due their strength and long term durability. They are more expensive than other materials.
If the cavity in your tooth is very large, or if the tooth is cracked and weakened, the best solution may be to have a crown fitted.
Is there a way to prevent fillings?
Fissures (grooves) in teeth are prone to decay. If our dentist detects early decay in the fissure walls or base, a preventive resin restoration can prevent further decay and the need for large fillings later on. A tiny cavity is made, using very small drills or air abrasion. A bonded filling is then placed into this cavity. This seals off the area in the fissure, keeping out bacteria and preventing further decay.