Fillings are used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed, or damaged portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a specialized material. The most commonly used filling materials are a composite resin (white) or a metal based (silver) material. Each filling material has its own advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of white fillings is that the composite resin actually bonds to the remaining tooth structure. This can sometimes deter further tooth breakage. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the tooth. Best of all, composite resins allow us to remove less of your natural tooth structure than would otherwise be removed for silver filling placement. The advantage of silver fillings is durability. A metal filling can sometimes withstand the chewing forces placed on our back teeth much better than white fillings. Silver fillings are more easily placed in areas of the mouth that are hard to keep dry. On the contrary, placement of composite resin is more technique sensitive requiring precise moisture control. As with most dental restorations, fillings are not permanent and may need to be replaced over time. They are very durable and can last many years with proper at-home care, diet and nutrition, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.