Amalgam (metal) fillings used to be fairly commonly used. While they were effective, they were very conspicuous and unattractive in a smile. Thanks to innovations in modern cosmetic dentistry, a cavity can now be filled with tooth-colored fillings for a more natural appearance.
The back teeth, called the molars, are at a higher risk for cavities than other teeth because they have many pits and fissures in which food debris and plaque can collect. Because they are in the back, they are more difficult to reach and clean, allowing bacteria to attack the teeth and cause tooth decay. This can lead to cavities. Dental fillings are used to treat cavities, removing the decay and filling in the remaining space to restore function to the tooth. They can be applied to any tooth affected with a cavity.
Also called white fillings, tooth-colored fillings blend in better with the surrounding teeth. They are made up of composite resin or porcelain and are much less noticeable than other materials such as amalgam or gold.
Cavities are usually detected during routine cleanings. They can also be felt by the patient if there is pain or irritation in a tooth. To have a tooth filled, the dentist will first numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area. He or she will then remove the decay from the tooth and clean it thoroughly. The material for the filling will then be placed in layers to strengthen it. The filling material is then hardened with a special curing light and filed down to the right size and shape to provide to correct bite.
If you have developed a cavity, it is important to get it treated as soon as possible to prevent the cavity from growing deeper into the tooth.