What You Should Know Before Having Dental Fillings

What You Should Know Before Having Dental Fillings

Mar 01, 2021

A tooth filling is a dental procedure that restores a tooth damaged by decay back to its standard shape and function. It thus improves one’s chewing abilities.

How Do You Know If You Need a Filling?

People with cavities mostly use fillings. Your dentist will check your tooth for signs of dental decay or any abnormality like discoloration. If he/she finds a tooth with an extensive cavity, you’ll probably have to get a filling. If the tooth cannot be saved, it will be extracted, but you can later replace it with dental implants.

Finding the Best Filling for You

To determine the best filling for you, your dentist will consider the following:

  • The cost of filling material
  • The extent and location of the decay
  • Your insurance coverage
  • Types of filling materials that are available

Types of Tooth Fillings

The following are the dental filling types used by dental practitioners:

    1. Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are mostly used in the restoration of back teeth as they can withstand biting forces.


      • They are durable and doesn’t corrode
      • Have a high aesthetic value
      • They are strong in that they can withstand chewing forces


      • They are very expensive
      • The installation will require more than one office visit
      • They can cause galvanic shock, whereby a sharp pain may occur when placed next to silver amalgam
    1. Silver Amalgams

This filling is made from a mixture of various metals like copper, tin, silver, mercury, and zinc.


      • They are less expensive
      • Durable
      • Strong


      • Poor aesthetics
      • It can cause discoloration. A grayish hue to the surrounding teeth can be created
      • The tooth structure has to be destructed to create a large space to hold the filling
      • They can cause fractures and cracks. Silver fillings experience wider degrees of contractions and expansion, leading to cracking and destroying the bonding.
    1. Tooth-Colored Composites

Composite fillings are known for their natural-teeth-looking appearance as they are made of tooth-colored plastic resin and powdered glass.


      • Their color resembles the existing teeth hence suited to use in the front teeth
      • They bond well to the tooth structure hence providing a firmer support
      • They can be used to repair broken, chipped, or worn-out dental


      • They are expensive. They can cost up to twice the amalgam fillings
      • They can chip
      • Wear out faster
      • They take longer to fix
    1. Glass ionomers

These are used to fill below the gum line and in young children.


      • They release fluoride, which protects the tooth from tooth decay


      • More susceptible to wear
      • They are prone to fracture
    1. Ceramics

These are made up of porcelain and are more resistant to staining as compared to composites.

    1. Indirect Fillings

These are similar to tooth-colored composites. They are made in dental laboratories and require two office visits to be placed.

There are two types of indirect fillings: Inlays and Onlays

    1. Temporary fillings

These often wear out, fracture, or fall out within a short time. They are not meant to last and are mostly used by emergency dentists.

When Should You Use Temporary Fillings?

      • When an emergency dental treatment is required
      • For filling that requires one dental visit
      • When tooth nerves are irritated

Potential Problems Associated with Dental Fillings

      • Infection – An improperly fitted filling can be a breed site for oral bacteria. Making regular visits to your dentist can help detect such issues early.
      • Damaged fillings – Fillings can crack, break, or even falling out. This happens mostly when a lot of pressure is exerted on the filling.

When Should You Replace Your Fillings?

If your teeth fillings start to wear out, you should see your dentist for a replacement as the cracks present can harbor food particles that attract harmful oral bacteria.

How Should You Take Care of Your Fillings?

Wenatchee Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following steps to take care of your fillings

      • Good oral dental care practices. This is paramount if you want your fillings to last.
      • Brushing with fluoride toothpaste
      • Using antibacterial mouthwash
      • Vising your dentist regularly

Problems Related to Fillings

    • Tooth sensitivity and pain – This occurs after the filling has been carried out, but the effects will wear off after a few days.
    • Worn-out fillings – Dental filling can wear out due to the constant pressure applied when chewing.
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