What are fillings?

A filling is a restorative material that when placed in a cavity (hole) restores the function or aesthetic appearance of a tooth, ideally both. When a tooth is damaged through injury or decay, a filling may be used. The fillings can be of different materials, Amalgam, Composite resin, Glass Ionomer.

What are the benefits of fillings?

  • These types of fillings can usually be placed in one visit.
  • They are ideal for small-medium sized cavities.
  • Composites give excellent aesthetic results.
  • The fewer appointments can make them a cost and time effective option.
  • In cases where the damage is greater, indirect restorations may be required instead.
  • Indirect restorations include: inlays/onlays and crowns.
  • Contain a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper.
  • They are the longest-standing filling materials used in dentistry.
  • They offer strength and durability and are quick to place
  • Can be a cost effective option for you as a filling choice.
  • Many people prefer not to have amalgam as they want mercury free fillings or a tooth coloured option.
  • Composite resin is the most aesthetically pleasing option.
  • They are matched to your tooth colour and can be made to look seamless with the tooth.
  • They bond directly to the tooth and can be a more conservative way of restoring the tooth as less tooth structure may need to be removed during the preparation.
  • A composite filling can be used to restore both front and back teeth.
  • People used to be concerned about the longevity of these materials but when placed correctly using the newest materials they have a very good lifespan as long as you look after your teeth.
  • They are time consuming and technique sensitive to place and are therefore a more expensive option than amalgam.
  • Glass Ionomer is tooth coloured but not as aesthetic as composite.
  • It does not match tooth colour as precisely and cannot be made to be as smooth.
  • They are fairly weak and are not usually used as permanent filling materials on adult teeth.
  • They release fluoride from them, which can help to arrest decay and strengthen the tooth.
  • They are commonly used to stabilise teeth, to restore deciduous teeth and to line very deep fillings before a more permanent material is placed on top.