When a tooth needs to be filled there is no ideal filling material that adequately replaces the original tooth substance. The most common filling material used in the past has been amalgam (Silver Fillings). Amalgam is a silver grey material which often goes black in time. It is made of several metals including silver and mercury. It is easy to use and lasts well. Many patients and dentists have concerns with amalgam because of its appearance and toxicity. Research has shown that there is no more toxicity in an Amalgam filling then there is in a can of soft drink. There is no evidence to support that prolonged use of amalgam is any more dangerous than any other filling material used.
Tooth coloured fillings have been used for over 50 years for front teeth and in the past 30 years there have been significant developments in tooth coloured fillings for back teeth.
There are various types of tooth coloured fillings, the most commonly used is “Composite”” which is a plastic material with small glass particles in it. It is placed in one visit and sets instantly. There are also inlays which are fillings made by a dental technician and then glued into the cavity. These normally take two visits. They can be made of porcelain or a heat and pressure cured composite plastic material. Inlays offer a longer average life than composite fillings.