Seeing the dentist

Fillings

A filling is a way to restore a damaged or decaying tooth. A dentist will determine if you need a filling via observation and an X-ray.

The dentist will begin the filling process by giving you an anaesthetic injection to numb the area around the tooth. The dentist will then drill out the decay and replace it with a filling. After the filling has been placed, your dentist will polish your tooth.

There are many materials used for fillings including amalgam, composite, glass ionomer cements and gold.

Amalgam

Amalgam is a filling material using in posterior (back) teeth and is made up of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. You may recognise an amalgam filling by its silver colour.  Amalgam is strong, durable and costs much less than other materials.

Composite

A composite filling is made of tooth-coloured materials. The material is popular as it can match the shade, translucency and texture of your own natural teeth. They are composed of a mixture of plastic and glass called silicone dioxide.

Glass ionomer cement

Glass ionomer cements are also tooth-coloured. They are typically used in the restoration of primary teeth in children due to their lower compressive strength than composites or amalgam. They are created using alumino silicates (powder) and polyacyrlic acid (liquid).

Gold

The cost of a gold filling tends to be considerably higher than any other type of dental filling. It is typically made up of 75% gold with the remainder consisting of other materials such as silver and other metals.