Dental Fillings

What is Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings usually happen when you get a dental cavity or have a cracked or broken tooth due to a number of reasons. Also known as dental restoration, it requires your dentist to remove all the decayed matter in order to create a hollow space that plays a big role in restoring your tooth to its former glory.

Dental restoration helps in the restoration of a tooth or teeth that have been destroyed either by decay, teeth grinding or accidental breakage. The dental filling usually stops further decay or breakage, and as a result, making the teeth functional again.

Importance of having a dental filling

  • By having dental restoration, you will be protecting your tooth or teeth from further damage because the filling used will close off any spaces through which bacteria can enter. And many of us know how painful it can get when that happens.
  • A dental filling also stops the decay and helps in preventing further decay.
  • It gives your tooth a new lease of life, and as a result making your life easier.
  • Not only does dental filling restore the functions of the tooth, but it also restores the shape of the tooth, and in a way, depending on where the tooth is located, improving your dental structure and your overall look and confidence.

Types of Dental Fillings

  • Ceramic Fillings – Made from porcelain.
  • Amalgam Fillings – Made from a combination of silver, mercury, copper, zinc and tin.
  • Gold Fillings – Made from gold alloys, which is a mixture of gold and other metals.
  • Composite Fillings – Made from fine glass particles and plastic.
  • Glass Ionomer Fillings – Made from glass components and acrylic.


When food particles are left behind on the teeth, oral bacteria feeds on them and forms plaque. Over time, plaque hardens to form tartar, and bacteria release acids that dissolve the strong outer layer of the teeth, called enamel. This creates a hole, or cavity, for oral bacteria to attack the sensitive tissues inside the teeth, and the procedure to seal the hole is called a filling.

Filling materials used to be silver or flexible, biocompatible cements. Now, the most widely used substance is a tooth-colored plastic composite that is soft at first but hardens to the teeth when exposed to a UV light.

Most patients can eat and drink immediately following a filling with no precautions. Your tooth will be good as new and you likely will not be able to see where the filling was done. You may feel some mild sensitivity in the tooth that was filled which should subside within a few days.

If you’ve ever had a filling fall out, you know that they do not last forever. Fillings usually last 3-7 years on average but you need regular dental exams to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, chipping, or darkening beneath the filling, schedule an appointment with your dentist soon. These are often signs that the filling needs to be replaced due to more extensive tooth decay beneath the filling.