A dental filling or restoration is a treatment designed to repair a cavity in your tooth caused by decay. Amalgam fillings are the most common type available, they are made from a mixture of mercury and different metals. However more aesthetically pleasing white fillings are now available.
The choice of filling material for any cavity will depend upon many factors including the size of the cavity, the type of tooth being treated and how heavy your bite is in the area being treated.
Most people recognise dental amalgams as silver fillings. A dental amalgam is made up from around 50% elemental mercury which is combined with either silver, tin or copper. The mercury binds the amalgam together to make it a strong and durable filling.
Also known as white fillings, composites have been around for over 40 years and consist of glass particles, synthetic resin and a setting ingredient. Your clinician will be able to advise you as to the exact ingredients used.
A less well known filling is the glass ionomer. This filling is based on the reaction of silicate glass powder and polyalkenoic acid, an ionomer. They are a type of white filling.