Is cavity the reason behind your toothache? Well if that’s so, your dentist will perform a tooth fillings procedure.

This involves removing the decay and filling it, hence the name.

Tooth fillings are also known as Dental fillings.

This article discusses the types and procedures of tooth fillings.

Keep reading to know more!

tooth fillings procedure


Tooth Fillings Procedure

Even if you take good care of your teeth, cavity may still occur.

However, it is not the only reason to get dental fillings.

If you have a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, tooth decay, or if you grind your teeth then you can cure them through fillings.

This is why most people get fillings at least one time in their lives.

Dentist’s Consultation

The first step is to visit your dentist for a consultation.

A toothache may indicate cavities or worn down teeth so it is essential to detect and treat it on time.

Your dentists may carry out a dental X-ray to carefully examine your teeth.

Though they may simply use dental caries detecting liquid to recognize the problem.

After examining the problem, they will recommend either a tooth filling if there is decay or a minor fracture.

However, they may recommend dental implants or dental crown if there is any other serious issue.




First, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic required to numb the treatment area.

Then they will proceed with the restoration of the decayed tooth and its surrounding parts.

This involves an air abrasion, a drill or laser, to eliminate the decay in the tooth.

Furthermore, the acid gel helps to thoroughly clean any debris.

They will check the tooth to confirm if all the cavity is removed to proceed for filling.

However, if the decay is near the root, they may first insert a liner to protect nerves.

Though tooth-colored fillings require additional steps.

These include applying the tooth colored material in several layers and hardening it through laser.

The composite material is finished, shaped and polished to form a final restoration.

Post Care

After the tooth fillings procedure, your dentist will discuss how you can prevent decay underneath or on the filling.

They will advise you to maintain your oral hygiene. Brush twice, floss regularly to prevent not only this tooth but all your teeth from decay.

Moreover, you can use fluoride mouthwashes to protect the treated area.

Though if you have a risk of cavities then they may place a sealant on molars to prevent any decay.

You should keep visiting your dentist twice a month to keep a check on your oral health and the condition of your mouth and to check if you need the filling replaced.

Dental fillings can be of different types and functions.

Learn about them below.



Types of Tooth Fillings

There are several types of fillings and you will get them according to your procedure requirements, the decay’s location and preference.

Some of these are gold, composite resin, tooth-colored fillings with their advantages and disadvantages respectively.

So, what should you choose? Find them discussed in detail below.


Amalgams are also known as silver fillings. These are pretty durable and can last up to 10 to 15 years longer than composite resin fillings.

Likewise, they are also cheaper and can tolerate chewing pressure.

However, these are not tooth-colored hence, they can affect your appearance.

Moreover, you may notice discoloration is surrounding teeth because amalgam silver fillings can cast a greyish hue on other teeth as well.

Amalgam also expands and contracts more as a reaction to heat and cold hence, there is a greater chance of fracture and tooth to crack.

Your dentist will also extract some tooth structure to place the filling and a minor amount of people may also be allergic to the filling material (mercury).

Hence, sliver amalgam filling may not be the best choice if you care for your aesthetics and your oral health however, they are a budget-friendly decay solution.


Ceramics fillings are tooth colored fillings and are as expensive as gold fillings but are made of porcelain.

They are durable and can last up to 15 years and more.

Alongside, they are also stain-resistant compared to composite materials.

However, they are more abrasive.


Cast gold has comparatively less durability and will last you for 10 to 15 years.

However, they are strong enough to endure the chewing pressures.

Though gold is not the same color as the teeth, it is considered better looking than silver.

But, given the name and material, gold fillings are the most expensive.

They can easily be 10 times more expensive than silver fillings.

Moreover, they are not as aesthetically pleasing and do stand out hence, people may not want it.

Cast gold fillings usually complete in more than one dental visit. So your process will not finish on the same day.

Furthermore, there is a slight chance of a galvanic shock when silver and gold fillings are next to each other and the metal and saliva give an electric sensation.


Composite resin fillings are tooth-colored therefore, they are aesthetically pleasing.

The fillings shade can match those of natural teeth.

Hence, people cannot identify if you have had dental work.

This especially helps if the filling is on front teeth or other visible teeth.

Your dentist can also use them for broken or chipped teeth and not only decay.

They also firmly bond with your tooth structure. They form a chemical bond that supports and firms the tooth.

In addition, dentists do not require to remove more tooth structures. Especially compared to amalgams.

However, they are not as durable. Amalgams, gold and ceramics last longer than composites.

A composite filling may last up to 5 years and cannot endure the chewing pressure as much as amalgams.

They are also not ideal for filling in large decays and cavities.

Additionally, they are also more expensive than amalgams/silver fillings.

You may also require to visit the dentist more than once, especially if you need inlays and onlays.

And in certain cases, they may also chip the teeth.

Though they are aesthetically pleasing, they are not as durable and strong as amalgams.

Glass Ionomer

This is also a tooth-colored filling however, it is made up of acrylic and glass.

These fillings release fluoride which helps to prevent cavities and decay in your tooth.

Moreover, they are mostly used on children to fill underneath the gum line.

Though glass ionomer has less durability.

They can last up to 5 years like composite resins but are more at risk to fracture as they are weaker.

The costs are also similar to composite resin.

Hence, glass ionomer does not withstand the pressure that well(they can wear down), neither does it last long.

So, their use is very specific i.e. below the gum line.

Indirect Fillings

Another kind of dental fillings are indirect fillings.

You will need indirect fillings when your tooth is not as severely damaged to need a crown but does not have enough tooth structure to support the fillings.

First, your dentist will remove the decay and clear your tooth off bacteria and debris.

Then they will take an impression of your affected tooth and make an indirect filling in the laboratory, that will become an inlay or onlay.

In the meanwhile, they will fill the tooth with a temporary filling.

An inlay has work within the bumps and chewing surface of the tooth however onlays cover more cusps and are more complex.

There are also direct inlays and onlays where you skip the laboratory procedure and your dentist places them directly onto your teeth.

However, that depends on your tooth structure and your need.

Inlays and onlays are greatly durable. They last much longer than traditional fillings up to 30 years.

Moreover, they may weaken tooth structure but not as much as traditional fillings.

They are available in composite resin, gold and porcelain.

Temporary Fillings

Another kind of fillings is temporary fillings. They come into specific use under certain circumstances.

These include:

  • When there are more than one dental visits

Cast gold fillings and indirect fillings require more than one dental visit.

Hence, temporary fillings come in handy in between the visits.

  • Pulp irritation

The pulp may irritate during the procedure hence, your dentist may apply a temporary filling to allow the nerves to settle down.

  • Emergency dental care

If you need any emergency dental treatment, your dentist may fill in with a temporary filling. One such condition is a toothache.

  • After a root canal

Your dentist may place a temporary restoration filling after your root canal treatment. 

As the name suggests temporary fillings are not permanent.

They wear out, crack or fall during a month.

However, you do need to replace them with a permanent filling after they fall out or fracture.

This can prevent several infections inside your mouth.

procedure safety


Safety of Fillings

You must be wondering if dental fillings are safe?

Well, there have been concerns about silver fillings or amalgam.

The concern arises from the use of mercury in amalgam fillings.

However, when mercury mixes with metals such as copper and zinc, it forms a safe alloy.

Moreover, dentists have been using that material since years without any complications.

Therefore, amalgam fillings are also safe to use and apply.




Fillings are a need for curing cavities and decay.

However, if you regularly visit your dentist you can prevent these conditions.

Therefore visit your dentist regularly and maintain your oral hygiene.

However, if you do have cavities then get your tooth fillings as soon as possible.