SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dental filling. Coloured dental X-ray showing a small filling (white) in a front tooth. Tooth- coloured plastic material, porcelain or acrylic are often used for front tooth fillings. Amalgam, a powdered alloy consisting of silver, tin, copper and zinc mixed with mercury, is usually used for back teeth fillings. Dental fillings are necessary when a tooth has become chipped or decayed due to dental caries. Dental caries is caused by a build-up of plaque, a mixture of saliva, bacteria and carbohydrate on the tooth surface. Acid produced during the break-down of carbohydrates by the bacteria etches into the enamel and deeper if not treated.
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