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Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are no longer a looming public health crisis, but a very real one. By working together, and acting now, we can prevent not only oral health damage, but obesity - a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

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There are two types of dental fillings based on the method of placement. They are direct and indirect restorations. Direct restorations are fillings placed directly into the prepared cavity by the dentist during a single visit. Indirect restorations are fillings that may require more than one visit. During the first visit the dentist prepares the tooth and takes a mould which is sent to a dental technician to construct the filling.  At the next appointment, the dentist checks the fit and cements the restoration.

Direct Restorations on Front Teeth

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are the most widely used, because of their excellent appearance. They are made from a plastic resin and filler, and are bonded to the teeth. A range of shades is available so that the colour of your teeth can be matched very closely, making them almost impossible to see.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

These are another high quality material especially suitable for areas where strength is less important, such as the gum line, and in children's molars. Glass ionomers can contain fluoride that may help prevent further decay. These are also used to cement dental crowns.

Direct Restorations on Back Teeth

Amalgam or Silver Fillings

Dental amalgam is a blend of metals such as silver, copper and tin. Mercury binds these metals together, providing a strong, hard, durable 'silver' filling for your teeth. Dental amalgam is less expensive than other materials.

Amalgam fillings have been the most widely used, time tested and cost effective material for fillings in back teeth. It is strong, durable and easy to use. They can withstand high chewing load and are useful for back teeth -especially the molar teeth where the chewing load is greatest. While concerns have been raised about dental amalgam due to its mercury content, authorities such as the British Dental Association, US Public Health Service, FDI World Dental Federation and World Health Organisation state that amalgam has been used for more than 150 years in millions of patients and no controlled studies have shown adverse health effects, except for rare cases of mercury allergy. Their disadvantage is their metal appearance.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings can be used for back teeth but large composite fillings generally don't last as long as amalgam and they are more expensive. But these should be weighed up against their excellent appearance and any concerns you may have about mercury release. Composites are very effective if they involve only one or two surfaces of the tooth and are small in size.

Indirect Restorations on Front Teeth  


Veneers or laminates are thin, custom made ‘shells' permanently bonded to the front of your teeth.  They can transform teeth that are broken, chipped, stained, or have large gaps between them, and some crooked teeth as well. They are usually made of porcelain.


Crowns for front teeth are natural looking porcelain caps, which fit over teeth that have been specially shaped by your dentist. They can also be used cosmetically to improve the appearance of your front teeth. They are usually made of porcelain, and may have a gold or metal core for added strength.

Indirect Restorations on Back Teeth


Crowns are tooth-shaped caps which fit over your teeth. Crowns can be used over teeth with large heavily filled, blackened or root-filled teeth. They are usually made of porcelain, and may have a gold or metal core for added strength. Crowns can also be made of gold or base metal alloys.

Inlays and Onlays

These can be made of gold or porcelain and are very effective filling materials due to their strength and long term durability.