Direct restorations are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. This is usually done to remove dental decay and restore strength and function to the tooth or to improve appearance. They generally will last for many years if they are well maintained and preventative measures are followed to stop secondary decay occurring.
It might be necessary to place a filling because there is a new problem (e.g. decay) in the tooth or you may have an old filling which needs replacing. This is usually because it has worn or pulled away from the tooth leaving gaps at the filling edges providing an entry point for decay-causing bacteria.
In addition although they might be intact, many people wish to change existing old grey/silver amalgam fillings as they worry not just about the appearance but the effect they may be having on their general health.
From an overall health perspective amalgam fillings have been in use in dentistry for over 100 years and we do know that mercury leaks from these fillings over time. Although the risks are still being debated, many patients wish to remove these fillings and change to the modern alternatives – just in case! Of course as these newer fillings are also designed to match the natural colour of the teeth they are more aesthetically pleasing.