Dentistry’s dirty little secret? The restorations that are placed into your teeth will not likely last forever. Any restoration is a repair of damage done to your teeth and there is currently no method of truly healing a tooth to its original condition. The larger the damaged area, the weaker the restored tooth will be, so it is critical to have a cavity or fracture repaired as soon as it is noticed. Older silver fillings can last for years but are unsightly and there is concern (though no solid proof) that the mercury in them could be harmful. Composite resin (tooth colored) fillings have become popular over the last decade and have expanded to include the newest hybrid types of restorations. These fillings look very natural and can even be used for cosmetic enhancement of the teeth but they can wear faster than silver in larger applications. That is why it is always best to keep a filling smaller by having frequent dental exams (twice a year) that can catch tooth damage or decay at its earliest (and smallest) stages.