Types of fillings:
Tooth coloured fillings (also known as white composite fillings) and amalgam (also known as silver fillings) are the most commonly used.
White fillings vs amalgam fillings
White composite fillings are less visible and blend in nicely with the colour of your teeth so they are not obvious. Amalgam fillings are long lasting and robust fillings, made from a mixture of metals. These may be preferable for back teeth because of their longevity. A white filling will need to be replaced approximately every five years, although, white fillings bond to the teeth restoring some of their natural strength. Amalgam can over a long period of time, weaken the tooth.
Why would you need a filling?
When decay is present or when teeth are chipped. When decay is present your dentist will remove it and fill the cavity with either white composite or amalgam. If a tooth is chipped or broken your dentist may restore the tooth using a filling or replace the tooth with a crown, depending on the damage.
What are the benefits of fillings?
Filling the tooth will strengthen it meaning you keep your natural tooth intact for a much longer period of time. If decayed teeth are not treated it can lead to tooth loss, which can then lead to more serious problems such as gum disease and eventually bone loss in the jaw.
Fillings are carried out under a local anaesthetic.
Amalgam fillings generally last for at least 10 years. White fillings may need to be replaced after around 5 years.