A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include :-
Amalgam (silver/traditional) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
Composite (plastic) resins are matched to the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired.They can be used on either front or back teeth.
Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings.
Glass ionomer is used as a filling material to restore front teeth, or around the necks of your teeth. As filling material, glass ionomer is typically used in people with a lot of decay in the part of the tooth that extends below the gum (root caries). It is also used for filling baby teeth and as a liner for other types of fillings.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy (in which the damaged nerve is removed).
Your dentist will consider a number of factors when choosing which type of filling material is best for you. These factors include the extent of the repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, whether you have allergies to certain materials and the cost.