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Fillings - What it is

​Fillings are tooth coloured or metal-based dental restorations used to fill in a cavity, which is left after dentists remove decayed parts of the tooth.

Fillings - Symptoms

Fillings - How to prevent?

Fillings - Causes and Risk Factors

Fillings - Diagnosis

Fillings - Treatments

fillings conditions and treatments

There are several types of fillings available.

Metal fillings

  • Amalgam
  • Gold

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam is an alloy of silver, tin, copper and mercury. It is a stable alloy, and mercury is bonded tightly in the alloy. It has been used in dentistry for a century and is the most researched and tested filling material.

However there have been concerns that low levels of mercury vapour is released from amalgam fillings and inhaled. High quantities of mercury vapour are toxic to the brain and kidneys. The FDA has reviewed the best available scientific evidence on the risk of mercury vapour from amalgam fillings and has found no health risk.

For more information on amalgam, click here.

Non-metal fillings

  • Composites
  • Glass ionomers
  • Porcelain

Tooth coloured fillings

Tooth coloured fillings are usually composites or glass ionomers. They consist of powdered glass dispersed in a plastic resin. In certain circumstances, composites can be alternatives to amalgam fillings. The advantages of tooth coloured fillings over amalgam are:

  • Better aesthetics as it can be matched to your tooth colour
  • Your dentist can take a conservative approach towards preparing your teeth for filling as the material is bondable to your tooth structure

However they have the following disadvantages:

  • Weaker as compared to amalgam; performing less well in areas of your tooth that are highly-stressed
  • Need to be replaced more frequently
  • Stained or discoloured over time
  • Requires you to spend a longer time on the dental chair as it is more technique-sensitive
  • More costly

Ceramic fillings

Current technology using CAD-CAM (Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacturing) allows the milling of fillings from a block of ceramic either in lab or in office. The ceramic filling is then cemented onto the teeth. Ceramic fillings are highly aesthetic and closely match enamel. They are more costly, and may fracture if there is inadequate thickness of the ceramic.

Your dentist is the best person to recommend the restorative material most suitable to your needs and condition of the tooth.

Fillings are considered a basic dental treatment. If you think you may need a filling, please visit your regular dentist for advice. National Dental Centre Singapore does not offer basic dental treatment unless patients have existing medical conditions that require special care.

Fillings - Preparing for surgery

Fillings - Post-surgery care

Fillings - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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