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A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When your dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps to prevent further decay. The most commonly used materials for filling include:

  • Composite resin (tooth-coloured fillings)
  • Amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc)
Which type of filling is best? No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for

  • Composite resins are used where a natural appearance is desired. The material is placed directly into the cavity, where they harden following exposure to high intensity light (light cure unit). Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco (smoking), and generally lasts from three to 10 years (not as long as amalgam)
  • Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark colour, they are more noticeable than composite restorations and are usually reserved for non-visible areas such as the molars. Amalgam restoration can last up to 15 years
  • How do I know if I need a filling?

    Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a check-up, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth. Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.

    Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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