A dental restoration or “filling” is a way of replacing the tooth structure lost when it is destroyed by dental caries (“tooth decay”). This means the tooth can be returned back to its normal shape and function.
Tooth decay can sometimes be seen by looking, but often it is hidden until the cavity becomes very large. We can use x-rays to detect these ‘hidden cavities’ and fix them before they become a large problem.
If tooth decay is left untreated it will progress deeper and deeper in to the tooth over time, until it reaches the nerve. A toothache may then develop and much more extensive treatment, such as root canal treatment or a dental extraction is then needed.
Fillings can be white/tooth-coloured composite resin or porcelain, depending on the size of the cavity. They can also be dental amalgam.
Whilst there is plenty of evidence to support the safety of dental amalgam, we are currently not using it at our clinic, because most people prefer a more ‘tooth like’ appearance and this can be achieved with other materials.
Is dental amalgam unsafe? Should I have my silver fillings replaced?
An amalgam filling can be replaced with a white one if there is a good reason to do so, but good quality research tells us that fears about mercury are not one of these reasons. Removing the filling unnecessarily can result in removal of further tooth structure and can weaken the tooth. For more information please refer to the link below.