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Fillings are used to restore teeth as a result of decay or tooth wear. There are different types of filling material available, suitable for different locations and types of cavities.
The decayed and weakened parts of the tooth are removed using small drills to clean the cavity. If the cavity has spread to the side of the tooth, a band might be placed around the tooth, which helps ensure that the filling is contoured to the correct shape. To protect the nerves inside the tooth, layers of lining, are sometimes painted inside the cavity before the filling material is placed.
amalgam (silver) fillings:
Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of metal alloys including silver, tin, copper and mercury. Amalgam is very durable and able to withstand the chewing forces generated by your back teeth over long periods of time, but is poorly aesthetic.
composite (tooth-coloured) fillings:
You can choose tooth-coloured fillings to match the colour of your teeth, making them a natural-looking alternative to amalgam fillings. They are often used in teeth that show when you smile or talk. Composite fillings are as durable as amalgam fillings.
Composites are soft and can be moulded to the shape of a tooth before they harden. Tooth-coloured filling materials stick to teeth so they can be used to build up the edges of worn teeth. Tooth-coloured fillings must be kept completely dry until they have set, so your dentist will take special precautions to keep saliva away from the area.