Tooth decay occurs as a result of acid-producing bacteria and sugar working on a susceptible tooth structure. The decay needs to be removed to prevent toothache, an abscess or even loss of the tooth. The resulting hole is then packed with a filling to restore the tooth to its original state.

There are different types of fillings: some produce a more aesthetically pleasing result, some are stronger and some last longer. A  filling can be placed immediately – a ‘direct’ filling – or a mold of the cavity can be taken and a  filling made by the laboratory and cemented in later – an ‘indirect’ filling. Indirect fillings are usually made from porcelain or gold; direct fillings are made from amalgam or composite.