A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative procedure used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. It is also lost intentionally during tooth preparation to improve the aesthetics or the physical integrity of the intended restorative material.
Dental composites are also called white fillings. Their strength and durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they are more prone to wear and discolouration.
Composites and Amalgam are used mainly for direct restoration. Composites are shaded to match the color of your tooth, and their surface can be polished after filling.
Amalgam fillings expand with age, possibly cracking the tooth and requiring repair and filling replacement. But chance of leakage of filling is less.
Composite fillings shrink with age and may pull away from the tooth allowing leakage. If leakage is not noticed early recurrent decay may occur.
Fillings have a finite lifespan: an average of 12.8 years for amalgam and 7.8 years for composite resins. Fillings fail because of changes in the filling, tooth or the bond between them. Secondary caries formation can also affect the structural integrity of the original filling. Fillings are recommended for small to medium sized restorations.