Dental Filling Materials

Dental Filling Materials

A look at the role of various types of dental filling material.

Having a tooth filled is one of the most common dental procedures that people experience. In most cases, these will be used when there is a small to medium amount of decay, or where a small part of the tooth has broken off.

At Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford, there are a number of materials that can be used for this and other purposes. Below we take a look at some commonly used dental filling materials to help broaden your own dental knowledge.


Amalgam is a widely used material for filling teeth. There are very good reasons for this as it offers a level of strength and durability that makes it an excellent choice. There are some potential drawbacks to amalgam though; the most obvious of these being the fact that it is a dark material and is highly visible when revealed. In addition to this, amalgam contains mercury, and, although its use has been deemed to be safe by the General Dental Council, the European parliament has pledged to phase out its use over a number of years.

White fillings

For patients who express concerns about the mercury in amalgam, or simply those who wish to have a filling that matches the colour of their natural teeth, white coloured fillings are ideal. These are now almost as strong as amalgam, though, for larger cavities in a rear tooth, inlays or onlays may provide a higher level of strength whilst still maintaining the appearance of the tooth. This type of filling is usually made from powdered glass and ceramic in a resin base and may require less of the tooth to be shaped when compared to amalgam, due to its excellent bonding qualities.

Glass Ionomer

Glass ionomer cement is predominantly used in the prevention of dental decay where a tooth has been compromised through a small break. It has excellent bonding qualities and acts as a sealant. Special formulations have additional benefits of slowly releasing fluoride and thereby helping to protect the tooth. It is, however, not the strongest material and is usually used on the edges of the tooth and not the biting surface. It may also need to be replaced at reasonably regular intervals.

Gutta Percha

Gutta percha is specifically used for filling a tooth that has had root canal treatment. It is a rubber like material and is heated and moulded to fit the root canals of the teeth, sealing them effectively and preventing further infection. It is not really used for any other type of filling.

Blue Sky Dental offer Chelmsford patients a wide range of both general and cosmetic dental procedures to help you to have both healthy and attractive teeth. To arrange a consultation with one of our dentists, please call us on 01245 211070.

Leave a Reply