Fillings are among the most common dental treatments, as almost everyone will need at least one filling in their lifetime. Fillings are used to fill in cavities in the teeth, which makes them stronger and prevents further decay.

Types of filling

There are many different types of filling; as technology has advanced, new materials that look more natural and last longer than traditional metal fillings, have emerged. Common types of filling include composite white fillings and amalgam fillings. White fillings are usually made of a mixture of glass, resin and a substance to make the restoration set. Amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals, which may include silver, copper and mercury.

Which type of filling is best?

White fillings are obviously more attractive than silver fillings and are consequently often used in the front teeth, which are on show when the person smiles. Amalgam fillings are much stronger and are therefore more suitable for the back teeth where all the grinding and chewing goes on. In general, amalgam fillings last longer than composite fillings but people may find the look of the metal filling off-putting.

Are all fillings available on the NHS?

Amalgam fillings are available on the NHS; however, most white fillings are considered as a cosmetic treatment and are therefore not available on the NHS. Fillings are one of the cheapest cosmetic treatments but the cost of the treatment varies between different dentists so it is best to check with your dentist before you agree to have the filling put in.

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