At some point or the other in our lives, most of us wind up in the dentist's chair getting a cavity filled. In most of these cases the dentist removes the decay and fills the tooth area that was removed. There have been a number of advances in the field over the years so if you're one of the few lucky ones and haven't had a cavity in a while, you should read up on what is available today so that you understand the choices available to you.
Different Types of Fillings
1) Composite Resin fillings
Most of us have had Amalgam (Silver) fillings or gold fillings done. Some of these fillings are what we called mercury fillings as they contained Mercury. Metal fillings were effective but they were very conspicuous and had a tendency to discolour over time.Composite Resin dental fillings were developed as an alternative to Amalgam and Gold fillings. These tooth coloured fillings are made of a resin material and are extremely strong and durable in addition to being natural looking.There are no known health risks of receiving Composite Resin dental fillings.
Amalgam fillings may contain mercury and are often referred to as metal fillings.Their safety has been in question for a number of years due to concerns over the absorption of mercury contributing to a number of diseases including alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, dementia and arthritis. The FDA investigations have not proven that the minute amount of mercury vapours released from silver fillings is a health hazard.
3) Inlays / Onlays
If over half of your molar's biting surface is decayed an inlay or onlay may be a better option to a filling. These options are for those times when more than a filling but less than a crown is needed.An inlay is placed in-between the cusps of a tooth while an onlay will cover one or more of the cusps.These may be made of Gold or Alloy metal or Porcelain or even Composite resin.