There are 3 main types of materials that I will use to fill teeth, they each have upsides and downsides and I weigh this in my recommendation to you of which type of material to use. Over the next 3 blogs I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
- Amalgam – often called “metal” or “silver” fillings.
- This is the filling material we’ve had around for the longest, historically it lasts the longest. The silver component is antimicrobial. The metal will “creep” and re-seal itself to the edges over time.
- This material doesn’t bond into the tooth, so we need to shape the tooth in such a way to create “mechanical retention”, in cases when the decay is small this can lead to needed to take away more tooth than would be strictly necessary otherwise.
- Being metal it expands and contracts a bit with temperature changes, the combination of this and the shape needed to create the mechanical retention can cause this material to act like a wedge and over time in combination with other forces can create cracks in the tooth. This is particularly a concern in very large fillings.
There are of course more things to consider for every material, but I’m trying to provide a summary of the high points.