Dental fillings are a common procedure that are performed in order to restore damaged teeth to full function. Fillings involve removal of decayed material from within the tooth, thorough cleaning of the cavity and then filling it with any one of several materials including composite resin, Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC), amalgam or porcelain. The best material for your needs will depend on many factors including size and shape of the cavity, location in the mouth, cosmetic considerations, cost preferences, and oral environment (e.g. dry mouth)
Composite resin is a plastic-based tooth coloured filling material that has been used in dentistry for decades. These materials are constantly being researched and upgraded, and their colour, durability, and tooth bonding strength has vastly improved in recent times.
Composite resin is available in a wide range of shades and can be closely matched to the natural colour of your teeth. It is bonded onto the tooth using a series of strong adhesive agents. During placement, the resin has a soft putty-like consistency so that it can be precisely sculpted and moulded. Once it’s in place, the filling is rapidly hardened by a blue light which sets the filling to full strength in a matter of seconds.
Composite resin can be used to fill both front and back teeth.
Dental amalgam has been one of the most consistently reliable tooth filling materials. It’s a strong metal alloy composed primarily of silver, tin, copper and mercury. Due to its unaesthetic grey/silver appearance and recent improvements in composite resin technology, the use of amalgam is declining.
Prior to placement of an amalgam filling, the components come pre-loaded in a capsule and are mixed together for a few seconds by a specialised machine. The resulting mixture is soft and can be placed into the cavity and shaped – this then hardens over time. Unlike composite resin, dental amalgam does not actively bond to the tooth.
In recent years, concerns have been raised over the safety of dental amalgam as it has been claimed that small amounts of mercury can be released from the amalgam over time and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Fortunately, a huge amount of research has consistently shown that the amount of mercury released by amalgam fillings is negligible. To date there is no conclusive evidence to prove that dental amalgam leads to health problems and the current stance of the Australian Dental Association is that dental amalgam is safe to use.
Sometimes an amalgam restoration will be more functional and provide better longevity than a composite resin restoration. However, many people prefer to have tooth coloured restorations, and we will use these materials whenever possible. If you do not wish to have any amalgam restorations please discuss this with one of our dentists.
Servicing the locals of Ivanhoe, Bulleen, Heidelberg and beyond, we offer comprehensive cosmetic and general dentistry under the same roof. We accept payment plans (such as Denticare) and after-hours appointments for your added convenience.
To arrange a consultation with our dentists, or for any enquiries, please call our clinic today. or fill in the form, and one of our team will contact you.