The two most commonly used filling materials are dental amalgam and composite resin.
Silver fillings have been used for over 100 years, have an excellent track record for durability and can be used in wide variety of situations.
Of all the materials we may place directly in a tooth, it is still the hardest wearing. With skill, it can be beautifully sculpted to the contours of a tooth and produce an excellent restoration.
It has the great advantage of being effective in deeper fillings, where the cavity may extend below the gum line and it is difficult to keep the tooth free of moisture during the procedure. Even in a slightly wet cavity, an effective seal may be made. It can be difficult to guarantee this with any other material.
Of course, it has the disadvantage of not being tooth coloured, which limits its use mainly to back teeth.
Composite filling material uses adhesive technology and will bond directly onto the tooth surface.
They are available in a variety of tooth coloured shades, so that they can be matched at the time of placement.
Greater technical skill is required to use these materials well and more time is required to complete the procedure. The tooth needs to be kept totally dry whilst the glue and layers of composite are added and set, using an intense blue light.
By the end of the appointment, a great looking restoration is produced, which is bonded onto the tooth structure and is totally set and ready to use.
Durability is good and ever improving with advances in technology.
It may be used in all teeth, although some difficult to reach teeth or those with cavities below the gum line are less likely to be suitable.