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Fillings are one of the main components of restorative dentistry. There are several different types of filling materials that are used depending on the location of the tooth in the mouth, how big the cavity is and where on the tooth the cavity is.
These are a mixture of metals and mercury, which are chemically bound together. Mercury has been used in dentistry for over 150 years. A lot of research has been carried out in the last 100 years to make sure this is a safe product. Amalgam fillings are typically used for molar teeth and are silver in colour. The average life span for these is 5-7 years, although its not unheard of for them to last well over 20 years!
These are tooth coloured and matched to the shade of your natural teeth. These are relatively new in the dental world (within the last 50 years) and are very strong, but aren’t as hard wearing as amalgam fillings. They are made from powdered glass, quartz, silica and other ceramic particles added to a resin base. To help hold them in place they are bonded to the tooth and set with a special curing light. If you wanted a white filling in a molar tooth you may find this is a private treatment rather than NHS, this is something you will need to discuss with your dentist as they need to follow NHS rules.
This type of filling has been used since the early 70’s. It releases fluoride, which helps prevent further tooth decay. This is the weakest material of the 3 but is perfect for use on baby teeth (due to the fluoride) and on non biting surfaces, particularly on the sides of Molar teeth as it doesn’t require the area to be dry whilst applying it to the tooth.