Even though you try your best to prevent tooth decay, sometimes the dentist finds a little cavity or two. It may be tempting to put off tooth decay treatment when you're not feeling any pain, but procrastination comes with a price: Tooth decay doesn't repair itself, and what starts out as a minor problem can quickly become serious, changing your treatment options dramatically.
A filling helps to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape, and helps prevent further decay by eliminating areas where bacteria can enter the tooth. Dentist consider a number of factors when choosing which type of filling material is best for you; this includes the amount of tooth structure remaining, where in your mouth the filling is needed and the chewing load the tooth will have to bear. Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss with you all of your options and help you choose the best filling for your particular case.
(tooth colored fillings)
Composite fillings are made of a resin and plastic material that is placed into the cavity while it's soft, then hardened with bright blue "curing" light. It's a popular choice because it can be matched in color to the shade of a person's existing teeth, so it's not as obvious as a silver amalgam filling. At the same time, though, composite fillings don't last as long as some other types. They typically need to be replaced every five years or so and they're pricier than silver.
Silver Amalgam Fillings
This is the most widely known type of filling. It's a popular choice for fillings among dentists because it's strong, durable, and doesn't cost as much as a composite filling. The typical silver amalgam filling can last 15 years or more.
The mercury in silver amalgam is controversial, but according to The American Dental Association and The World Health Origination, studies have shown that silver amalgam fillings are safe.