Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are used to restore teeth once they have had dental decay removed from them by your Dentist or if a tooth has broken. There are a number of different types of dental filling material that are used in several different situations.

Front teeth

Composite fillings

Composite fillings are tooth coloured and the most commonly used filling material. They have an excellent appearance and come in a range of shades to match your tooth colour very closely. Composite fillings are made from a plastic resin and filler and they are bonded (stuck) to your tooth.

Glass Ionomer fillings

Glass ionomer fillings are again tooth coloured but don’t have the same strength as that of composite fillings. They made of a silicate glass powder mixed with a form of acid. Glass ionomer fillings tend to be used in lower stress area like the sides of teeth and are often used for restoring children’s molar teeth. They have an added benefit in that they also release fluoride into the teeth.

Back teeth

Amalgam fillings

Dental Amalgam (‘silver’) fillings have been the most widely used and cost effective material for fillings in back teeth. Dental amalgam is very strong and durable which is important with the high forces produced when chewing on your back teeth. Their disadvantage is their silver metal appearance. Dental amalgam is made of a blend of metals such as silver, tin and copper, which is bound together with mercury. Dental amalgam is less expensive than other materials. The mercury used in dental amalgam is seen as safe for most people. Authorities such as the New Zealand Dental Association, the British Dental Association, the US Public Health Service and the World Health Organisation state that dental amalgam has been used for more than 150 years and no controlled studies have shown adverse health effects apart from very rare cases of mercury allergy.

Composite fillings

Composite fillings can also be used in back teeth. Composite fillings are very effective when they only involve one or two surfaces of the tooth or are not very wide. Large composite fillings generally don’t last as long as dental amalgam fillings in back teeth. Composite is also more expensive that dental amalgam but has the advantage of a good appearance being tooth coloured.

Gold or porcelain inlays

Inlays made of gold or porcelain are a very effective way to fill dental cavities. However they are more expensive than the other filling materials outlined above.

All of the filling types discussed above can be done in one visit to City Dentists. Inlays however generally take two visits to complete. They are constructed by a dental laboratory from a mould of your teeth taken at the first of the two visits.


If you think you need a filling call us now on (04) 978 4964 or email us to organise a consultation to discuss which filling is right for you.