A dental filling, or restoration, is a material used to replace broken or diseased tooth structure or replace an older filling
that has worn out. Constant chewing stresses and temperature changes from eating
hot and cold foods slowly wear down tooth structure and existing fillings, causing
them to chip and break. In addition, tooth decay (cavities) can form around existing
fillings requiring the filling to be repaired or replaced.
There are many types of filling materials with varying esthetic, strength and handling properties. Your dentist will evaluate
each situation to choose the proper material for your particular situation.
The two major categories are tooth colored fillings and metal fillings.
Tooth Colored Fillings are more technique sensitive than metal fillings. However, their advantages include better esthetics,
less tooth structure removal required for success and they form an actual bond to
tooth structure for retention and strength. Metal fillings simply wedge into place
for retention, thus adding no strength to the tooth through bonding
How a filling is placed changes depending on the size and type of repair required, and it often varies from office to office.
Larger fillings and fillings that extend between teeth require a band or "matrix"
that allows the filling to be properly built against the adjacent tooth.