A filling (or restoration) replaces a part of the tooth that has been lost through decay, damage or accident.
The dentist may:
- Numb the tooth
- Remove the decay and any old filling
- Remove any weak areas in the tooth
- Prepare the cavity to accept the filling
- Press soft material into the cavity, sometimes into a metal band to hold the filling while the material is still soft
- Shape the filling to fit exactly into the tooth
- Check to make sure that the filling feels good and the bite is correct
- Polish the filling when it is completely hard
Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver fillings are made of amalgam which is a mixture of mercury, with silver, tin and other metals. They are very strong and have a good track record from many years and may be advised in for large restorations.
Modern tooth coloured dental materials are adhesive which means that they ‘bond’ to teeth. They are also free of mercury.
Once the tooth has been prepared the surface is etched using a safe, mild acid to roughen the surface of the tooth.
The acid is washed off using a jet of water and dried.
Special dental adhesive is then applied which seals the filling to the tooth.
The resulting filling is very strong and now can be as durable as silver fillings in most cases.