Introduction to Dental Fillings

A dental filling is a type of material which we use to restore the function, integrity and shape of missing tooth structure. This loss of tooth structure usually results from tooth decay or traumatic injury. It is occasionally lost intentionally when we are preparing the tooth to improve aesthetics.

Types of Material

  • Amalgam (silver filling)
  • Composite Resin (white filling)
  • Glass Ionomer Cement
  • Gold
  • Porcelain

Amalgam (“Silver Fillings”)

This is still the most commonly used filling material in the world today. It is a mixture of mercury and at least one other metal. The most common metals used are Silver, Tin, Copper and Zinc.

Amalgam remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any shape of cavity; it then forms a hard compound. Amalgam lasts longer than other direct restorative materials, such as composite. In recent years however, this difference has decreased with the continual development of composite resins.

There are over 100 million Amalgam fillings placed in the USA alone each year.

  • Strong
  • Easy to use
  • Long lasting
  • Appearance & Aesthetics
  • Leakage and Corrosion
  • Contain Mercury
Completed Amalgam Filling
Completed Amalgam Filling



Composite Resin (“White Fillings / Cosmetic Fillings”)

After preparing the tooth, a thin glue or bonding agent is applied. Composites are then filled layer by layer and are set using a special light. After the filling is placed, the surface is then shaped, sculpted and polished. These white fillings are very popular with patients as they mimick real teeth extremely well. In some cases, it is not always possible to restore the tooth with a cosmetic white filling.

  • Strong
  • Less healthy tooth structure removed
  • Teeth look fantastic; The fillings don’t corrode or stain the teeth.
  • The fillings themselves can stain and discolour with age.
  • More technique sensitive than Amalgam
  • Shorter lifespan than Amalgam
Amalgam Fillings
Composite Fillings


Gold Fillings

These fillings are very long lasting and are popular especially for restoring back teeth. They have a long life span and many patients love the ‘look and feel’ of this type of filling. They are made by our technician and require two visits to the clinic to complete.


  • Strong
  • Aesthetics
  • Long lasting


  • Appearance & Aesthetics (some people don’t like the ‘gold’ look)
  • Takes two visits to complete
  • Larger initial investment than Amalgam
Old Metal Filling
Gold Filling



Inlay Restorations

These restorations are commonly made from Porcelain, Gold (see above) or Composite Resin. They are usually stronger and longer lasting than fillings done directly in the mouth; it takes a couple of trips to the clinic to complete this type of restoration. In the first visit, the tooth is prepared and an impression is taken. This is sent to our dental technician who makes the restoration and sends it back on a stone model of the tooth. At the second visit, we use special cement to fit the filling on the tooth.


  • Look beautiful
  • Very durable; Long lasting


  • Takes two visits to complete
  • Larger initial investment than a direct filling
Old Metal Fillings
Prepared Teeth
Composite Inlays
Inlays Fitted

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Tuesday 08.00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 08.00am - 5:00pm
Thursday 08.00am - 5:00pm
Friday 08.00am - 5:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

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7 Grand Canal Wharf, South Dock Rd, Dublin 4
Eircode: D04 R860
Phone: 01 6655900
Fax: 01 6655901

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