Which filling should I have?

There are various filling options available, and a discussion between you and your dentist will determine which filling material is the most appropriate for you.


A composite filling is a tooth-coloured plastic and glass mixture used to restore teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the colour of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.


Aesthetics are the main advantage of composites, as we can select a shade that best matched your natural tooth structure. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Composite fillings require minimal intervention to the tooth structure, relying on chemical rather than mechanical bonding to the tooth.


Composite fillings are offered privately, through Denplan, and on the NHS. Your dentist will discuss with you which restorative option would be best, taking into consideration your needs.


Most people recognize dental amalgams as silver fillings. Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Mercury is used to bind the metals together and to provide a strong, hard, durable filling. After years of research, mercury has been found to be the only element that will bind these metals together in such a way that can be easily manipulated into a tooth cavity.


Glass Ionomer

This is a filling that consists of acrylic and glass components. It is usually tooth coloured, however dependent on the particular case one which is grey in colour or pink may be used.


Because of the chemical bond with the tooth, minimal cavity preparation is required. Glass ionomer has cario-static properties, which means that they are a particularly good option for patients who experience high rates of decay


However, it is weaker than amalgam and composite, and more likely to wear or fracture in the future. They are not suitable to be used in very large long term restorations on the back teeth, due to the forces present when biting.



Temporary filling

There are occasions when we will advise you to have a temporary filling material placed in your tooth. These can include:

  • Immediately following root canal treatment
  • Between impression and fit appointments for crowns, bridges and inlays
  • If your tooth has been painful and needs a dressing
  • If you have broken a tooth and need a longer appointment to place a more permanent restoration


A temporary filling is only designed to be in place for up to one month, and with care it should last until your next scheduled appointment. You should be able to eat and drink normally, but you may be advised to avoid eating hard foods on the side where the temporary filling has been placed. It is important that you brush your teeth effectively, there is no need to take any additional precautions around a temporary filling.


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