The most basic restorative dental treatment is a filling. During your comprehensive exam, we may identify dental caries, a condition in which bacteria have broken through the tooth surface and degraded a portion of the tooth structure. When identified early, the decayed area can be removed and replaced with a filling material, helping to prevent further bacterial invasion into the tooth.
A few years ago, amalgam (a mixture of metals) was our go-to filling material. Although an abundance of research has demonstrated amalgam to be a safe and effective choice for dental fillings, its metallic appearance doesn’t blend seamlessly with the tooth, and the cosmetic result is often undesirable. More recently, the use of dental composites has become more popular. Composite is a tooth-colored filling material whose color can be accurately matched to your teeth. This allows us to place fillings that meld impeccably with the remaining tooth structure, thereby disguising their presence and yielding a highly esthetic result. In the old days, composites were too weak to be used in certain "high-traffic" areas of the mouth. But fortunately, newer composites are much stronger and can therefore be used for most dental fillings.