|A dental filling (also called a "dental restoration") is intended to replace tooth structure lost to decay. Dental fillings may last many years; however, eventually all fillings needs to be replaced. Constant assault from eating and drinking, or stress from clenching or grinding, eventually may cause a dental filling to fail.
Advances in dental materials and techniques offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work in developing materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds, that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. There are several types of tooth-colored materials that can be used to repair damaged or decayed teeth.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental fillings. These factors include the components in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth must bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
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