KEITH, CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KEITH, CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tooth with filling. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a wisdom tooth with an amalgam filling (grey). Damaged teeth are filled to prevent pain and further decay, and to restore the correct bite. The filling itself is made of amalgam, a mixture of mercury and other metals (silver in this case). This is soft and shapeable when it is being applied to the damaged tooth, but sets hard within 24 hours. Amalgam fillings last around ten years, after which they have to be replaced. Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to appear in adults, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. Magnification unknown.
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