Dental fillings are common procedures to repair cavities in your teeth usually caused by decay. It can often be done in a single appointment at nearly every dentist’s office.

Here is a look at the process and types of materials most commonly used in fillings today.

After your dentist discovers a cavity in your tooth, the decaying portion must be removed. Your tooth will be numbed in order for a dental drill to be used comfortably to eliminate decay. A hole will be left behind in your tooth that must be filled. The filling material will be inserted into the hole so that your tooth will once again be healthy and functional.

The newest type of material used in dental fillings is composite resin. Perfected in recent years, composite fillings offer a great way to correct your tooth problem without affecting your appearance. This is because composite materials match your tooth so that it blends right in and others won’t even know it’s there. One drawback is that composite fillings may not be the best choice for teeth in the back of your mouth that experience a high degree of chewing force, because composite materials may not withstand such force as well as some other materials. However, they are a perfect choice for more visible teeth closer to the front of your mouth.

Traditional metal fillings are made from amalgam, which is a combination of mercury and other metals like silver and tin. These fillings are very strong and durable, but they are noticeably silver in color unlike your teeth. There is also controversy surrounding amalgam fillings about the safety of their mercury content.

Some fillings are made out of ceramics, most often porcelain. They can be color matched to your teeth and resist stains well. Ceramics are a better choice for large fillings, as it may be too brittle for small ones.

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