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Part of the tooth that is broken and/or decayed can be prepared (drilled) and restored with different filling materials. The different types of filling materials available correspond to different indications, objectives and desired outcomes. For example, resin based, bonded composite fillings (commonly called “white fillings”) are more tooth preservative, require less tooth preparation (drilling) and appear as more aesthetically appealing, whereas conventional amalgam (silver) metallic fillings often require more mechanical retention and hence more preparation of sound tooth substance to achieve undercuts and retain the fillings solely by mechanical, gravitational means.

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