Dental fillings are used to replace tooth structure that has been lost due to decay, trauma, or wear. There are several types of filling material currently available to repair teeth, including tooth-colored (composite) fillings and silver-colored (amalgam) fillings. The vast majority of the fillings we place are made of composite resin, as most people prefer tooth-colored fillings and because the properties of these materials allow us to be more conservative when preparing the teeth. Once your composite filling has been placed, there are typically no restrictions to eating or drinking afterwards, as the material is cured to its maximum strength during the placement.
If the decay or trauma to your tooth is more extensive than what can be reasonably fixed with a filling, your dentist may suggest an alternative restoration, such as a crown. Crowns are used to repair badly broken-down teeth. Generally, dental fillings and crowns do not last a lifetime.