Fillings. Fillings are the simplest and most direct way to restore tooth structure that has been lost due to caries or trauma. They can be placed in one visit and do not require impressions or lab work.
In general there are two different types of material used to place fillings: composite and amalgam (also known as silver or alloy). Each material has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
Composite. Composite is a tooth colored material that has the advantage of being much more esthetic than amalgam and allowing for removal of less tooth structure. The disadvantages of composite are that the material is more sensitive to moisture when placed, and they are more prone to recurrent caries. Amalgam. Amalgam is a silver colored material composed of various metals including mercury, silver, and tin. The advantages of amalgam are that it is less sensitive to moisture and more resistant to recurrent caries. The disadvantages are that it is less esthetic and it requires removal of more tooth structure than composite.
When your dentist places a filling they will give you anesthesia, remove any infected or defective tooth structure, and place the filling material. Generally, you can eat and drink immediately.