Back To Blog

3 Dental’s Guide to Dental Fillings

21 September 2016

Most of us do our best to follow dental advice. We brush and floss on a daily basis and visit the dentist for regular check-ups. We even restrict the amount of sugary foods and drinks we consume and yet, sometimes we just can't avoid tooth decay.

Unfortunately, if decay is left untreated it won't heal itself, but just spread deeper into the tooth. If allowed to spread to the pulp of the tooth, you'll really start to feel the pain that decay can bring, and ultimately you may lose that tooth altogether.

Dental fillings are used to treat tooth decay

Bacteria live in our mouths and feed on the sugary foods that we eat, producing strong acids that eat away at the teeth.

If you don't remove this sticky layer of bacteria, it will continue to do damage until a hole appears in your tooth.

One of the most common treatments for tooth decay is to seal up the hole in your affected tooth with a dental filling, which is usually made from either amalgam or composite resin. 

Amalgam fillings

More commonly known as silver or mercury fillings, amalgam fillings actually comprise of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury, and have been used in dentistry for almost 200 years.

The soft mixture is pressed into the cavity to build your tooth back up, and will then harden as the combination of metals binds together.

Composite resin fillings

Most commonly known as white fillings or tooth-coloured fillings, composite resin fillings are made up of very small pieces of silica encased in a plastic resin.

They're a much more modern filling and their effectiveness is constantly being improved. The composite is hardened under a blue light resulting in a finish that's both strong and very closely matched to the colour of the tooth.

 

Should you get an amalgam or composite filling?

Many people prefer to opt for composite fillings because they're far less noticeable than the amalgam type. Dentists may recommend amalgam fillings for teeth in the back of the mouth and white fillings for your front teeth. However, there are other considerations to take into account. For starters, composite fillings are not as strong as the amalgam versions. That's why amalgam fillings are usually recommended for back teeth where we do most of our chewing.

Furthermore, white fillings will wear down more quickly, meaning that you'll need to replace them more often. Secondly, you'll have to pay more to have white fillings fitted therefore, if money is a consideration, you may prefer to opt for amalgam.

Thirdly, at present, amalgam fillings last much longer than the white variety. But on the other hand, white fillings are far less noticeable than the silver coloured finish of amalgam fillings.

Further considerations

You may have worries about the mercury contained within amalgam fillings, however the risk is very minimal. The mercury is actually contained within the filling itself, and while it can release very small amounts of mercury, this is typically less than you'd consume if you eat certain types of fish.

This could only potentially be an issue if you have or develop an allergy to mercury. One important thing to consider is that as amalgam fillings don't bond to the tooth, your dentist will need to remove part of the healthy tooth to fit them. This is not necessary when using composite fillings.

However, composite fillings do shrink when they harden, meaning that you may develop a small gap between the tooth and the filling, which will allow bacteria to enter and potentially develop into new decay.

If you suspect you have a bad tooth it's important to visit your dentist as soon as possible as it’s he/she who will be able to advise you on suitable treatments and the best filling for your tooth.

Recent Reviews

Helen Brady Skidmore

“So happy with my first visit yesterday with 3Dental, been so terrified of the dentist. The staff where so professional from checking in at reception to the lady I had cleaning my teeth Zaneta. She...”

Séamus Tully

“THE DENTIST!! Dun dun duuunn. Wow. All I can say is that the old misconception of going to the dentist is now well gone. My daughter pointed me in the direction of 3Dental as she is currently in the...”

Deborah Coombes

“My mam asked me to write this review on her behalf. Yesterday she had all the teeth removed from the top and implants fitted top and bottom. She then had her temporary teeth fitted and will return...”

Ashley Catherine Dooley

“Came today as an emergency appointment the staff were so friendly. Highly recommend”

Em Emzy

“I had braces on with 3Dental, the results are amazing I'm delighted with my teeth now! Here are pictures of before and after of my teeth”

Adrianna McDermott

“Got my braces with 3Dental a few years ago and still continue to go back for check ups. I cannot recommend Dr. Paul enough. He is amazing at his job. I never thought I'd have perfect straight teeth...”

Ana Miricescu

“I had my young daughter in 3Dental for few different treatments. Paul and Anna were absolutely amazing, most professional, nice and friendly people and I would never hesitate to recommend 3Dental and...”

Jennifer Byrne

“After being terrified of going to the dentist for years I went to 3Dental for my veneers to be done, from the moment I walked in I felt so relaxed and welcome by all the lovely staff there. I saw Dr....”

Paula Slattery

“The staff are so friendly and professional. I got an implant a few weeks back and was very nervous but the staff made me feel so relaxed and the procedure was so quick and painless. I would highly...”

Georgina Daly

“Love it every time I go! Paul (my dentist) is truly a gentleman - making my dreams come true from day 1. I was told by multiple dentists that I couldn't be helped because my teeth were a severe case....”

Gina Styles

“I had an emergency visit I was looked after so well. As I was very nervous but I felt comfortable and I'm looking forward to dental plan they explained i should have done. Highly recommend 3Dental.”

Carmel Murphy

“Thank you so much to the fabulous Jennifer Owens and her amazing assistant Louise. This is the first time in my life I can smile with confidence. My years of dental phobia are well and truly a thing...”

Geraldine Dunne

“Just back from an appointment in 3 Dental, they make a visit to the dentist as easy as it is possible to be. The staff from reception to the dentist do their best to make you feel at ease in such a...”

Sarah McGauley

“I got my wisdom tooth out today in 3Dental. I was so nervous as I had never got one out before, did not use any sedation either. Dr Robert Weld-Moore greeted me with a smile, made me feel really...”

Louise Ryan O'Connor

“I am absolutely terrified of the dentist but today I had the best experience ever. I had iv sedation and quite a few fillings done. I did not feel anything my dentist Jennifer was such a lovely...”

Linda Gill Guthrie

“Can’t recommend this dental clinic enough. Unbelievable service, very professional in plush surroundings. Very reasonable prices. Don’t go any where else, especially for cosmetic dentistry. Thanks...”

Sandra O'Neill

“As soon as you arrive in the door you a greeted with such a lovely warm reception. All of the reception staff are so helpful especially Sean who makes you feel like he has known you for years. As a...”

Deirdre Ryan

“I have been going to 3Dental since early 2018 for ongoing work. I was very impressed by the level of care I received from Dr. Thibaut Merit for root canals and crowns last year. This year, I have...”

John Hayden

“Hi, I got a very large bridge made due to missing teeth recently and my overall experience was extremely positive. The whole procedure from start to finish was explained to me every step of the...”

Tracy Palmer

“My son had his braces done with Paul and from start to finish I was delighted with the service and the result. Paul was a pleasure to deal with. The staff on reception were extremely helpful and...”

Ready for the Next Step? Book Your Free Consultation

Book A Consultation View Pricing Options