Dental Filling

A filling is one of the most common dental procedures. It is generally a painless procedure and generally takes about an hour. Filling cavities is a simple and clear procedure that can be completed at the dentist's office.

Why is Dental Filling May be Necessary

Some problems can lead to the need for a dental filling, including cavities, tears, or chips, or the need to replace an old filling.

The following are some signs that you may need a filling:

  • Sensitivity of the teeth when consuming hot or cold foods or drinks.
  • Your tooth has a visible black hole.
  • A generalized toothache
  • Difficulty flossing due to the floss breaking or getting caught between the teeth.

Types Of Dental Filling

There are a wide variety of materials used for cavity filling and they vary in strength and color. Amalgam and composite are the two most common varieties.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam has been used by dental professionals for over a century; It is the most researched material used for filling cavities. Amalgam fillings are strong and therefore ideal for filling cavities in the back of the mouth, such as molars, where chewing takes place. Since they are made from a combination of several metallic elements, amalgam fillings can be noticed when you laugh or smile. These filings are among the most affordable cavity filling products available.

Composite Fillings

These fillings, also known as composites or filled resins, are made of a mixture of glass or quartz filling and can be customized to match the color of your teeth. Composite fillings are also quite durable and are ideal for small to medium-sized restorations in areas of the mouth that perform moderate chewing.


Gold or silver amalgam is the most widely used metal for filling cavities. Gold fillings can cost up to 10 times more than silver amalgam fillings, but some people prefer the look of gold fillings to silver ones if they want the durability of metal versus a less durable composite material. Some people don't like the look of metal fillings, but metal fillings can last up to 10-15 years before they need to be replaced.


A tooth-colored ceramic cavity filling usually made of porcelain is less likely to stain teeth over time than a composite cavity filling.

Glass Ionomer

This mixture of acrylic and glass is used to create a cavities filling that releases fluoride to help protect teeth. But a glass ionomer cavity filler is less durable than other types and may need to be replaced in as little as five years.

Dental Filling Procedure

Fillings are generally a simple procedure. To begin, your dentist will examine your mouth and use dental instruments to check the cavity. They can take an X-ray of the tooth or teeth to see the extent of tooth decay. You will have a local anesthetic to numb the tooth area. This will help to prevent any pain. You may not need an anesthetic if the filling is only on the surface of the tooth. Once the area is numb, your dentist will most likely use a dental drill to pierce through tooth enamel and remove cavities. Some dentists may use a laser or air abrasion tool, but these techniques are less common. Your dentist will then sterilize and clear the area for the filling, after which he or she will cover the cavity. Some types of fillings harden or cure with a blue wavelength light. Finally, your dentist will polish the tooth and verify that your bite is correct. Once the numbness is gone, your tooth may feel a little sore or tender after filling, but you shouldn't feel any pain. You can limit very hot or cold foods and beverages for a day or two, but you should eat normally after that.

dental filling

How Long Dental Filling Take

Generally, a filling takes an hour or less. A simple filling can take as little as 20 minutes. A larger filling or multiple fillings may take longer.

Gold or porcelain fillings, also called inlays generally cannot be done in one go. At the first visit, the cavity will be removed and an impression of your tooth will be taken, which is sent to a laboratory to make the filling. At the next visit, the filling is attached to your tooth.

Replacing an old filling takes about the same amount of time as the original fill, or slightly longer if the old fill material needs to be pierced. The cavity and old filling material are cleaned and new filling material is inserted.


When the dental filling procedure is completed, the dentist should spend some time with the patient to discuss how cavities can be prevented under or near the filling. These methods will also help prevent cavities in other teeth. Patients should be encouraged to follow good oral care practices, such as brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing, and using an interdental cleaner daily. Fluoride mouthwashes may also be beneficial for patients at high risk for further cavities. Some patients at high risk for cavities may also benefit from a sealant that is placed over the molars at the back of the mouth to prevent plaque buildup and cavities in the area. Follow-up visits may be necessary to monitor the progress of the filling and to receive routine professional cleanings.

Post-Treatment Care for Dental Filling

  • Before you start chewing, make sure the anesthesia has worn off.
  • Do not consume anything too hot or too cold if the effect of anesthesia is still active
  • You may feel pain around the gum area; this will only last a few days.
  • For a few days, stay away from heavy or sticky foods.
  • If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, be sure to wear a mouth guard to protect your filling.
  • If you feel sensitive for too long or if your dental fillings come off, see your dentist right away
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene routine such as cleaning, brushing, rinsing, and flossing.

Dental Filling Complications

Tooth sensitivity

A tooth that has just had a filling placed will be more sensitive to hot and cold foods, air temperature, and therefore biting pressure. This type of tooth pain after filling a cavity should go away in a couple of weeks. If not, contact your dentist.

Allergic reaction to dental fillings

Some people are allergic to the fabric used for fillings, such as silver. To help avoid tooth pain after filling a cavity, be sure to inform your dentist of any allergies when discussing your filling options.

Tooth sensitivity

A tooth that has just had a filling placed will be more sensitive to hot and cold foods, air temperature, and therefore biting pressure. This type of tooth pain after filling a cavity should go away in a couple of weeks. If not, contact your dentist.


Dental fillings are very common and generally not painful. The procedure generally takes about an hour for a standard filling without complications. Ask your dentist about the advantages and disadvantages of possible filling materials for your tooth. They can also tell you the best way to care for your filling. With diligent dental hygiene, you can expect your fillings to last for many years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do dental fillings last?

They typically last 10-12 years before needing to be replaced.

2. Which filling is best for teeth?

Composite fillings are enticing because they can be custom-colored to complement the color of the teeth. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are more costly and less durable than silver amalgam fillings. Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain and are a very aesthetically pleasing option that is also very durable.

3. How long do fillings last on front teeth?

While composite fillings are not as strong as amalgam fillings, they are still quite strong and can last for many years. Many composite fillings have a 5-year lifespan. There are many cases where they can last up to 10 years or more.

4. Are white fillings strong?

Modern white fillings are much stronger than those of several years ago; however, they are very strong, and a well-placed amalgam filling can last for several years.