Tooth decay is a very common oral disease experienced by a large portion of the general population. Tooth decay can be caused by a number of different reasons, but is usually related to the enamel surface being exposed to acid. Research has shown that once the pH in our mouth drops below 5.5 at the surface of a tooth, the enamel begins to demineralize or break down. Once the enamel layer has broken down to the point where the underlying dentin is exposed, the tooth is considered to have decay and the infected tooth needs to be treated.
The tooth is treated by doing a filling which entails removing the decay and then filling the hole with a material to restore the tooth's proper function and shape. Fillings can be performed using two types of materials: composite resin or amalgam. Composite resin is a standard white filling, while amalgam is a traditional silver filling. In almost all circumstances, a white filling material is the choice for teeth in the front of the mouth. For teeth in the back, white or silver materials can be used, but certain circumstances may favour one or the other. We are always happy to discuss the pros and cons of using white or silver fillings to help our patients select the most appropriate material for them.