Dentists fill teeth with cavities, or caries, by removing the decayed tooth material with a drill or sandblaster and then replacing it with a material such as silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or composite resin.

While silver amalgam (alloy) and gold are generally considered to be stronger, these materials are often used on back teeth due to cosmetic appearance reasons. Porcelain and composite resin more closely match the natural tooth appearance, and may be preferred for front teeth. There is also a recent trend to use high strength composite resins in the back teeth as well.

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