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Fillings are placed to prevent the spread of tooth decay or correct any minor structural damage that may have occurred to a tooth.  Before placement of the filling material, unsupported tooth structure and decay must be removed. Local anesthesia is usually necessary to ensure maximum comfort for our patients. There are two different types of fillings: amalgam (otherwise known as silver fillings) and composite resin, the color of which can be customized to match your natural teeth.  In our practice we do exclusively composite fillings due to many patient concerns about the presence of mercury in amalgam restorations.  Since the color of a composite resin filling can be customized, it is an aesthetically pleasing option. Recent improvements in the composition of the composite resin filling materials have made them a suitable replacement for silver fillings in almost every clinical situation.  Finally, another advantage to composite resin for cavity fillings is that they are bonded to the teeth in layers and therefore may require less removal of the natural tooth structure.