Different types of dental fillings

Fillings can keep teeth strong.

Along with inlays and onlays, fillings are amongst the most common dental procedures performed across the world. Getting dental fillings is most commonly in order to combat decay in a tooth by filling a cavity. Their use isn't limited to that however, and fillings are also a good fix for cracked or broken teeth, as well as worn teeth from nail biting or grinding.

Adding to the versatility of fillings, they come in a few different materials that can provide similar but slightly different outcomes. The two most frequently used types of dental filling are dental composite and dental amalgam. In this article, we'll take a look at these two substances and how they can be used to get your smile as strong and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Different types of filling can perform different functions. Different types of filling can perform separate functions.

Dental composite fillings

Dental composite is a plastic resin that matches the shade of your teeth, often being referred to as a 'tooth coloured filling'. The principal benefit of composite fillings is that it can blend in with your existing teeth. Accordingly, these fillings are most commonly used on the front teeth as they are more visible. Dental composite fillings are also very easy to bond to the tooth – being hardened with a special light – which means that teeth can be filled in a single visit to your dentist. 

There's also minimal drilling required with a composite filling, making them ideal for those that are slightly nervous about dental procedures. A composite filling will generally last for five years, and in some cases can stay strong for as long as 10. It's always best to have your fillings checked regularly by your dentist though, to ensure they're doing the job. 

Whichever type of filling you need will depend on the location of the tooth as well as your own personal requirements.

Dental amalgam fillings

Unlike composite fillings, dental amalgam is a metal substance. It looks like silver, and is often referred to as such, but the material is actually a composite of two or more metals – sometimes called an alloy. The qualities of these metals make amalgam fillings very strong, and can easily last for 10 years or more.

Amalgam fillings are most often deployed in the back of the mouth, where their silver colour won't be too noticeable and where the bulk of chewing takes place. Like composite, amalgam fillings can be completed in just one visit to the dentist. 

Whichever type of filling you need will depend on the location of the tooth as well as your own personal requirements. If you have any questions about getting a filling, or maintaining one that you already have, get in touch with City Dentists today.