A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.

Fillings come in a wide variety of material: gold, amalgam silver, tooth-colored composites, and glass are among the most common.

X-rays are very useful in detecting cavities before they begin to cause pain. Removing decay and placing a filling in your tooth when cavities are small means that more healthy tooth structure remains.

  1. Amalgam Fillings: These fillings appear to be silver but actually consist of a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. They are extremely durable and are the least expensive type of fillings.
  2. Composite Fillings: Composite fillings are made with plastic resin and match the shade of your teeth. They are frequently used for front teeth because they blend in with your natural tooth color. Although composite fillings may be more aesthetically pleasing, they're not as tough as amalgam fillings.
  3. Ionomer Fillings: Ionomer fillings are tooth-colored and consist of a mixture of acrylic acids and glass powders. They're often used if you have a cavity on a tooth root.
  4. Inlays and onlays: These porcelain fillings are created in a dental lab and are used if a large area of your tooth's chewing surface must be filled.
  5. Gold fillings: Gold fillings are very strong, but also the most expensive filling option.

Mercury binds the alloys in dental amalgams together, strengthening your filling. The media has reported extensively on possible health risks related to the mercury content in amalgam fillings in recent years. Fortunately, none of the research studies on the subject have found any evidence that amalgam fillings can damage your health.

When the dentist discovers a cavity, he will deaden the area with an anesthetic. Once the entire area is numb, he gently scrapes away any bad enamel and uses a drill to get the rest. Then he cleans out the area to make sure it is free of bacteria. If the nerve is exposed, he will put a covering over it so it does not cause pain. The tooth is then filled and coated with a coloring agent that closest resembles your natural tooth color.

Fillings come in a wide variety of material: gold, amalgam silver, tooth-colored composites, and glass are among the most common.

Most insurance plans will cover the least expensive choice of fillings. It depends on your particular insurance provider whether they cover full or part of the payment. Most will cover a part of the payment. Your dentist should be able to help you find out.

If cared for properly, a typical filling will last 10-15 years before it needs to be replaced.

Normally, your tooth will remain sensitive to heat and cold for about 2 days after the filling. This pain is normally very mild. You should feel no pain and be back to normal in three days.