When it comes to dental fillings, their purpose is to eradicate the decayed and infected parts of a tooth and subsequently restore its full function and appearance. That said, fillings fall under the big umbrella, termed “restoration.” There are two main categories of restoration, “direct” and “indirect” restorations. We will be focusing on the direct restorations in this post. As the name would dictate, direct restorations such as composite fillings are placed directly inside the teeth by your dentist in a single visit and takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the site and the size of the filling.
Common materials for direct restorations are as follow:
1.Amalgam – Amalgam is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last 150 years. Although it sometimes is called “silver amalgam,” amalgam actually consists of a combination of metals. These include silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium also may be used.Tooth-colored materials now can be used to restore teeth. Therefore, amalgam is used less often than in the past. However, the newer materials can’t be used for all situations. Amalgam is less costly than other materials. It also holds up better over time, especially in teeth that undergo a lot of pressure and wear from chewing.
2. Composite – A composite tooth filling, typically made of powdered glass and acrylic resin, offers a few advantages over an amalgam filling. For one, the filling can be shaded to match the color of a person’s existing teeth, making it much less visible. As more people want natural-looking smiles, composite fillings have become increasingly popular.
3. Glass Ionomer – fillings are made from acrylic and fluoroaluminosilicate, a component of glass. This type of filling is very strong and most often used in people with a lot of decay in the part of the tooth that extends below the gum. It is also used for filling baby teeth.