baby teeth
June 14, 2020
Simple Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth at Home
June 24, 2020
Show all

Dental Filling


Dental Filling: To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed.

Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).

What Steps Are Involved in Filling a Tooth?

First, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. The choice of instrument depends on the individual dentist’s comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment as well as the location and extent of the decay.

Next, your dentist will probe or test the area to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.

Several additional steps are required for tooth-colored fillings and are as follows. After your dentist has removed the decay and cleaned the area, the tooth-colored material is applied in layers. Next, a special light that “cures” or hardens each layer is applied. When the multilayering process is completed, the dentist will shape the composite material to the desired result, trim off any excess material, and polish the final restoration.

What Are Composite Fillings?

This type of dental restoration procedure is used to repair tooth damage from decay, cavities, fractures, and chips. Created from white composite resin, this is a tooth-colored material that is often offered in a variety of shades of white to match the natural color of your teeth.

Reasons for Composite Fillings:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Closing space between two teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • To restore decayed teeth
  • Worn teeth

Signs You May Need A Filling:

  • Toothache or pain when biting down
  • Sensitive to hot or cold
  • Pain when eating or drinking
  • Bad breath
  • Visible holes, pits or black/brown discoloration

Tooth Fillings & Dental Filling Procedures

Most people need at least one tooth filling in their lifetime. Dental filling procedures are most commonly used to treat cavities, but they’re also used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down over time.

Most dental filling procedures feature the following: 

  • Topical anesthetic to numb the area of treatment
  • Decay removal from the affected teeth
  • Tooth restoration using a composite or amalgam filling
  • Bite check to make sure your teeth align comfortably

The team at Rely Dental in Irving and Benbrook Texas practice will ensure you are comfortable before, during, and after your procedure, and will happily answer any questions you may have. Also, here are useful tips for overcoming dental anxiety

What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?

Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings.

The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.

Direct fillings

Direct fillings are put into the tooth after the decay is removed. They are made in just one visit. However, they don’t live up to expectations in every aspect.

  • Composite: Dental composites, also called white fillings, are a mixture of plastic resin (only 20-30%) and powdered glass or ceramics. They are put into the prepared tooth in a soft state and then hardened by light exposure.

Amalgam: This is still the most used filling material in the world. It is composed of a powdered silver-tin-zinc alloy which is then mixed with mercury and pushed into the tooth.

Amalgam toxicity is a controversial and highly debated issue. While not every amalgam filling should be removed without any deliberation, there are many good reasons to replace them with other materials of superior quality.

Indirect fillings

Indirect fillings, or inlays, are made in the dental laboratory, and the procedure takes two visits. The dentist makes an impression from the carefully prepared tooth first. Based on this impression the dental technician creates the inlay which is then placed and bonded to the tooth by the dentist during a second visit.

Gold inlay: Gold is still considered the best filling material. Well made gold inlays can last decades and can even be considered jewelry. A lot of people like to wear shiny metal in their pierced ears, around their neck, and on their fingers but for some reason don’t like the same gold metal in their teeth.

Porcelain inlay: Inlays made of ceramic show relatively high durability and outstanding aesthetics at the same time. This is the main reason for being the most popular choice of long-term solutions.

Taking Care of Your Fillings

You should always practice good oral hygiene, which will also take care of your fillings. If you follow these tips, it should prolong the life of your dental fillings:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and use alcohol-free mouthwash to reduce bacteria
  • Limit sugary, sticky snacks
  • Don’t use tobacco products
  • Limit food and drinks that stain coffee, soda, juice, wine, and tea. Rinse your mouth with water afterward
  • Avoid biting down on hard foods and chewing ice
  • See a dentist once or twice a year for dental checkups and cleanings






We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *