Thanks to advances in modern dental materials and techniques, dentists have more ways to create pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Dental researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing materials, such as ceramics and polymer compounds that look more like natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
These new materials have not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental materials, such as gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam (silver fillings). That’s because the strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations, such as fillings in the back teeth where chewing forces are greatest and cosmetic concerns are less critical. Durability is an important factor since every time your tooth needs to be refilled, you are not only losing additional tooth structure but you are increasing the likelihood that you will require more involved treatment.