When a tooth has dental decay, the dentist removes the decay and the cavity is filled with a restoration that comes in the form of either amalgam, composite resin or porcelain. Prior to insertion of the filling, a lining is often placed on the cavity floor. This acts as a thermal insulator for the nerve of the tooth and also helps prevent irritation of the nerve.
Amalgam and composite are materials that can be inserted directly into the tooth immediately following cavity preparation.
Amalgam becomes fully hard after 24 hours so care is needed when eating after an amalgam filling has been placed. Amalgam is silver in appearance.
Composite sets using a blue light. Once the blue light has been used, the composite is set and can be used for eating immediately. Composite is a tooth coloured restoration and has very good aesthetic qualities.