Despite the fact that dental hygiene has increased, tooth fillings are still needed in some cases to ensure the health of a person’s teeth. A tooth filling, or dental filing, is usually placed in a tooth where there is a cavity or where the tooth has worn down and needs replacing. The filling restores the tooth back to working order and allows the person to continue using it without pain. Fillings are most often used in the molars at the back of the mouth, as these do most of the chewing and wear is expected. The teeth at the front of the mouth are most often capped to provide protection.
What are dental fillings made of?
When a tooth requires restoration, the decay is removed from the tooth using dental instruments, such as drills and picks, and is replaced with the tooth filling agents. The most common filling agent is a dental amalgam which is a metal alloy. These filing are made from mercury (~50%), silver (~22-32%), tin (~14%), copper (~8%), and other trace metals. Dental fillings can also be made of gold, silver, gold alloys, cobalt-chrome alloy and nickel-chrome alloy. Dental composites are another form of dental filling that are commonly used. They are white in color and are used to fill chips and imperfections in the front teeth and are sometimes used to fill the molars. Dental composites are made of a synthetic resin composed of Bis-GMA monomers, Dimethacrylates and filler materials such as silica as well as a photointitaor.
Did you know?
There is controversy about the use of the commonly used dental amalgam due to the content of mercury. Mercury has been found to be toxic to humans and its use in tooth fillings is considered unsafe by some experts. Fillings containing mercury have even been banned in some countries where they have been replaced with other filling materials such as composite resin fillings. Others argue that the mercury content in the dental amalgam is safe and it has proven itself as a dental restoration method that withstands the constant wear and tear on the teeth.