Fillings are required when a part of the tooth has fractured or has been damaged due to decay and subsequently has created a cavity (hole in the tooth). They are used to restore the tooth to original function and integrity within a single visit.
Amalgam fillings are the traditional silver coloured fillings we are familiar with and have been used as a filling material for over a century. There is mercury within the amalgam but it is rendered harmless once combined with the other materials in the dental amalgam. Amalgam fillings are amongst the most durable and long-lasting form of filling. Amalgam filings are generally the most cost filling material, however they are the least aesthetic also.
Many people today are more conscious of their smile and are unhappy with silver fillings that can be seen when they laugh or smile and for this reason there is a more natural tooth coloured filling called composite. Composite fillings are adhesive and unlike amalgam fillings require minimal preparation of the tooth to be held in place. They are shade matched to the remaining tooth making them appear natural. White fillings do not contain mercury, and are not only highly aesthetic but also functional and durable. Composite is the material routinely used to restore teeth anteriorly in the smile line.