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Dental Filling

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Several techniques for dental fillings are available from Amalgam Restorations, Gold Inlays, Porcelain Inlays to bondings and Onlays. We have joined these techniques for a short overview, explaining adavantages and disadvantages of dental restoration techniques.

Amalgam Restoration

Amalgam restoration, also known as silver fillings, uses a material called Amalgam to fill cavities in teeth. Amalgam consists of an alloy or combination of metals: mercury (around 50%), silver, tin, zinc and copper. Amalgam restoration is used for filling in back teeth, because they are less visible than in the front teeth. Amalgam restoration is noticeable because of its silver color.


The advantages of Amalgam Restoration are:

- Results last at least seven years

- Amalgam is the least expensive restorative material

- Strong and resistant restoration, which resists to hard chewing

- Restoration usually takes one consultation


The disadvantages of Amalgam Restoration are:

- It is noticeable, because it does not match the natural color of the teeth

- When placing an amalgam filling, a large amount of tooth should be removed for a good fitting.

- When an amalgam filling has to be repaired, the entire filling, including the decay and some of the healthier tooth has to be removed.

- amalgam fillings might discolor the tooth, due to corrosion


Bonding is the name of the process of fusing the filling material to the tooth. The material used is called Composite Resin and is also known as white or plastic filling. Composite Resin is a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles and has the same color of natural teeth.


The advantages of Bonding are:

- Bonding is an aesthetic solution for restoring front teeth. In addition, they are resistant enough to be used for back teeth restoration

- The filling sticks to the tooth, instead of fitting in a previously made pocket. This way, less tooth material has to be removed in a bond than in an amalgam filling

- The filling is placed in layers and when the tooth achieves its original form, an ultraviolet light is used to harden it. Right after the procedure, the patient can already chew on the treated area

- Bonding is best recommended for cosmetic dentistry purposes, such as repairing discolored, chipped and fractured front teeth. Spaces between teeth can also be reduced or even closed by filling the gaps

- The treatment can be done in one consultation

- Bonding lasts at least five years

The disadvantages of Bonding are:

- Bonding is not as durable as porcelain veneers

- Composite resin is more expensive than amalgam, but less expensive than gold

- Composite resin is not as resistant as amalgam filling

- In large cavities, composites may not be long-lasting and amalgam fillings should be best recommended

- In some cases, the composite may shrink when placing, creating more cavities. When placing the filling in thin layers, risk of shrinkage is reduced

Inlay Restoration

In this restoration technique, a solid filling is made from an impression of the cavity and cemented into the tooth. The tooth is previously prepared and a cavity is created.

Inlays are usually made of gold or tooth-colored porcelain and take on average, two visits to be done. The first visit is to prepare the tooth, and take its impression; during the second visit, the filling is cemented into place.

Gold Inlays

For gold inlays, the material is made from a mixture of gold with other metals. Gold filling lasts at least seven years; however, it is from six to ten times more expensive than amalgam.

The main advantages of using gold are that it does not corrode, is durable and some people prefer gold color than amalgam. The main disadvantages of gold are the high cost and duration of treatment. For a gold filling, the patient needs at least two consultations to complete the process.

Another point to be considered is the fact that, when placed close to an amalgam restoration, they can react with saliva, resulting in an electric current, which would cause discomfort for the patient.

Porcelain Inlays

Porcelain inlays last on average, from five to seven years. Price is variable, depending on the filling size. The advantages of porcelain are the tooth-colored material and the fact that porcelain is more resistant to staining and abrasion than composite resin.

One of the disadvantages of porcelain is the larger inlay size necessary to prevent it from breaking, resulting in a larger amount of tooth removed. In addition, porcelain is more fragile than composite resin.

Onlay Restoration

Onlay is almost the same as inlay restoration.

The only difference is that an onlay restoration not only fills the cavity, but also can cover part of the chewing surface of the tooth.

Onlays are also cemented from a previously made impression. Material used is gold or tooth-colored porcelain, the same as when having an inlay restoration.

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