Dental filling is a material used to “fill” in the spaces in your teeth caused by tooth decay. It is a restorative material used to seal the exposed tooth layer left behind by tooth decay and restore the lost tooth structure so proper function can be established. Tooth decay is usually a slow developing infection of the tooth structure caused by bacteria. However, in certain cases tooth decay can develop and spread rather rapidly. The sooner the infection (decay) is identified and removed, the better the prognosis of the tooth. This is because bacteria which cause tooth decay eat away at the tooth structure. Thus, the longer the infection is left in the tooth the more tooth structure will be infected and require removal. If the infection is allowed to persist and spreads to the nerve in the center of the tooth,treatment such as a root canal or extraction may be required. Also, if the decay is too extensive the tooth might require a crown, partial crown, or even extraction.
Composite is a resin based filling material, containing no mercury as traditional amalgam fillings, most commonly used to restore tooth structure lost due to decay. Available in numerous shades, they can be matched to the existing color of your tooth to look like natural tooth structure. Composite fillings are excellent for aesthetics as well as functional purposes. They are commonly used to restore chipped, misshaped or decayed anterior teeth because they can be matched closely to the shade of the existing tooth structure and look natural. Also, unlike mercury based amalgam filling material, composite fillings are much more similar in structural composition to natural teeth. Thus, they put less stress on the tooth during function decreasing the likelihood of tooth fracture, which are common in amalgam fillings. Composite fillings are bonded to the tooth structure, rather than just packed in like amalgam fillings, creating a seal between the tooth and the filling, thus decreasing the chance of recurrent decay. Finally, composite fillings contain no mercury so there is no risk of mercury ingestion or release in blood supply.