Cavity filling is a simple and reasonably straightforward operation that can be done right in the dentist’s clinic. You should plan to be at the dentist’s clinic for around an hour. This gives him time to take X-rays as needed, and to speak to you about the operation and full dental work. Before filling the cavities, the dentist can numb the teeth, gums and underlying skin to prevent and minimize pain during the process. After that, he will remove the decay of the tooth and substitute it with a lining. This method takes just a few minutes.

If this is done, the mouth will definitely stay numb for a few more hours. There are no big dangers involved with sealing cavities, so make sure to keep the dentist’s contact details on hand in case of any doubts or problems.

The most common use of dental filling is to fill a hole in the tooth. Yet dental fillings may also be used to restore damage to teeth due to bruxism or to replace part of a damaged tooth.

Types of dental fillings

3d render of tooth with endodontic file in jaw over white background. Root canal treatment concept.

There are several choices for dental fillings, and they do have their benefits and drawbacks. Forms of dental fillings contain silver (a mixture of mercury, silver and other metals), tooth-colored composites, porcelain, and a special kind of glass. The best dental fillings for you will depend on the cost, what your policies can cover, and your cosmetic preferences.

There are a variety of materials used to fill up cavities and they differ in intensity and color. The two most popular forms are amalgam and mixture.

Amalgam fillings: Amalgam has been used by dentists for more than a century. It is the most studied and used substance to fill cavities. Amalgam fillings are solid and therefore are suitable for filling in cavities at the back of the mouth such as molars where chewing occurs. Since they are made from a combination of many metallic elements, amalgam fillings may be seen when you laugh or smile. These fillings are among the least costly of all cavity fillers.

Composite fillings: Also referred to as filled composites or resins, these fillings are characterized by a combination of glass or quartz fillers and may be made to match the color of your tooth. Compound fillings are also reasonably durable and suitable for small to medium-sized restorations in parts of the mouth that chew slightly.

Minerals: Gold or silver amalgam is the most common mineral found in cavity fillers. Gold fillings will cost up to 10 times more than silver amalgam fillings, but some people like the appearance of gold over silver fillings if they choose the toughness of the metal versus a less robust composite material.

Some people do not like the look of metallic fillings, but mineral fillings will last for 10 to 15 years before they need to be replaced.

Ceramic: A ceramic cavity filler (usually made of porcelain) is teeth-colored, and may be less resistant to tooth stains over time than a composite cavity filling. Yet price is a key consideration for these fillers as ceramic fillers can be as pricey as a gold cavity filler.

Glass Ionomer: This combination of plastic and glass is used to produce a cavity lining that releases fluoride to help protect the teeth. However, the glass ionomer is less durable than other forms, and it will need to be replaced in less than five years.

Treatment of dental fillings

You may feel some sensitivity and pain after getting dental fillings, but this discomfort should subside. Don’t forget your oral care regimen. Instead, try materials specially formulated to protect delicate teeth. Toothpaste in general preserves sensitive teeth and offers protection from possible tooth decay. Once dental fillings are removed, dental fillings typically survive for several years until they need to be replaced. But dental fillings can wear out after years of chewing. When you grit your teeth, your dental fillings will need to be replaced faster.

If you find signs of deterioration on your dental fillings, such as holes or worn patches, visit the dentist and get the filling removed as quickly as possible. Continuing to chew on a broken filling can lead to splitting of the tooth and require further repair that is more costly and more difficult than a basic cavity filling. If additional tooth decay happens around the filling, whether the filling is broken or not, the dentist may opt to patch the tooth with a crown instead of filling the second cavity. You should visit the dentist straight away to change or fix cavity fillings. Potential problems of a cavity filler include:

Infection: Often, a cavity filler will slip away from the tooth it is connected to, leaving a small gap. This room may be a breeding ground for bacteria that can induce further tooth decay. If you find a space between the tooth and the cavity lining, visit a dentist as soon as possible.

Damage: Occasionally the cavity filler may snap, crack, or fall off. Filling injury will happen when you bite into something hard or if you get a hit to the mouth when playing sports. Visit a dentist as soon as you detect damage to the cavity lining to prevent unprotected pain and infection of the tooth.