Fillings are tooth coloured or metal-based dental restorations used to fill in a cavity, which is left after dentists remove decayed parts of the tooth.
There are several types of fillings available.
Amalgam is an alloy of silver, tin, copper and mercury. It is a stable alloy, and mercury is bonded tightly in the alloy. It has been used in dentistry for a century and is the most researched and tested filling material.
However there have been concerns that low levels of mercury vapour is released from amalgam fillings and inhaled. High quantities of mercury vapour are toxic to the brain and kidneys. The FDA has reviewed the best available scientific evidence on the risk of mercury vapour from amalgam fillings and has found no health risk.
For more information on amalgam,
Tooth coloured fillings
Tooth coloured fillings are usually composites or glass ionomers. They consist of powdered glass dispersed in a plastic resin. In certain circumstances, composites can be alternatives to amalgam fillings. The advantages of tooth coloured fillings over amalgam are:
However they have the following disadvantages:
Current technology using CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacturing) allows the milling of fillings from a block of ceramic either in lab or in office. The ceramic filling is then cemented onto the teeth. Ceramic fillings are highly aesthetic and closely match enamel. They are more costly, and may fracture if there is inadequate thickness of the ceramic.
Your dentist is the best person to recommend the restorative material most suitable to your needs and condition of the tooth.
Note: Fillings are considered a basic dental treatment. If you think you may need a filling, please visit your regular dentist for advice.
National Dental Centre Singapore does not offer basic dental treatment unless patients have existing medical conditions that require special care.
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