What are Fillings?

A filling restores the lost tooth structure. One of the leading causes of tooth structure loss occurs when you have caries (tooth decay), but it can also be caused by trauma, tooth erosion, and developmental defects. There are three main types of filling materials routinely used in dentistry. Composite resin and glass ionomers are tooth-colored filling materials, and amalgam is silver-colored. Composite resin is the most commonly used filling material. Amalgam fillings are usually recommended when composite resins cannot be used.


What are the indications for different types of fillings?

  • Amalgam is recommended for patients with high rates of tooth decay. Concerns regarding the long-term effects of mercury in amalgam are shared among the public but have yet to be scientifically proven. National and international public health agencies consider amalgam a safe, affordable, and durable dental material.
  • Composite filling materials are the most commonly used for fillings as they are more esthetic than amalgam, and their quality continues improving.
  • Glass ionomers restore cervical lesions (gumline cavities) and deeper cavities. They can be used in combination with composite resins and amalgam materials.


Where can I learn more?

For additional information, please visit the following websites:

Steps of a filling
Amalgam restoration
Composite restoration

Contact Us

If you are concerned that you may need a filling, please schedule an appointment for a free screening exam at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine at (303) 724-6900.

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