Dental fillings may be used to restore teeth after damage has been caused by bacteria or trauma. They are recommended for repairing damage that is not extensive enough to warrant the use of inlays, onlays, crowns or extraction. By leaving more of the tooth structure intact, patients get to retain the natural strength of their own teeth.
Fillings may be silver-mercury amalgam or tooth colored. The former are often more affordable, but involve removal of more tooth structure and may place tooth structure at risk in the long term by expanding and contracting with temperature changes. The tooth colored fillings offer the advantages of less tooth removal, resisting temperature changes in addition to being more esthetic.
Filling placement begins with an X-ray to determine the extent of the damage. After removal of the damaged area, the filling material is placed, cured and polished.