Fillings are dental restorations used to replace tooth structure lost by decay. Dentists remove decayed parts of the tooth leaving a cavity. The cavity is filled with a dental restorative material. Fillings may be metal or alloys of metals, or non metal.
Non Metal Fillings:
- glass ionomers
Amalgam is an alloy of silver, tin, copper and mercury. It is a stable alloy, and mercury is bonded tightly in the alloy. It has been used in dentistry for a century and is the most researched and tested filling material.
However there have been concerns that low levels of mercury vapour is released from amalgam fillings and inhaled. High quantities of mercury vapour is toxic to the brain and kidneys The FDA has reviewed the best available scientific evidence on the risk of mercury vapour from amalgam fillings and has found no health risk.
For more information on amalgam, click here
Tooth Coloured Fillings
Tooth coloured fillings are usually composites or glass ionomers. They consist of powdered glass dispersed in a plastic resin. In certain circumstances, composites can be alternatives to amalgam fillings. Advantages of tooth coloured fillings over amalgam are:
- better aesthestics, can be matched to tooth colour
- bondable to tooth structure therefore tooth preparation can be conservative
However they have the following disadvantages:
- not as strong as amalgam; perform less well in high stress areas
- need to be replaced more frequently
- staining and discolouration occurs with time
- more technique sensitive and takes longer chair side time
- more costly
Current technology using CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacturing) allows the milling of fillings from a block of ceramic either in lab or in office. The ceramic filling is then cemented onto the teeth. Ceramic fillings are highly aesthetic and closely match enamel. They are more costly, and may fracture if there is inadequate thickness of the ceramic.
Your dentist is the best person to recommend the restorative material most suitable to your needs and condition of the tooth.
To book an appointment with this service, please call 6324 8802.