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A dental filling is a tooth restoration most commonly used to treat decay and cavities. After your tooth has been damaged, a dental filling will restore both the appearance and function.

Why Do You Need a Filling?

If your dentist notices a cavity during your comprehensive exam, you may need a filling. While these are the most popular reasons for the restoration, there are other situations that might warrant a filling:

  • Broken teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth that have been worn from grinding, nail biting, and other damage

Types of Fillings

There are a few different types of materials that can be used to produce dental fillings:

  • Amalgam. Often referred to as “silver” fillings, these fillings are actually made from an alloy of silver, mercury, copper, and tin. Amalgam has been used for decades for dental fillings, mostly because of its superior durability. They are best-suited for the molars and cavities toward the back of the mouth.
  • Composite. Composite fillings are made from white or tooth-colored material to provide a more natural appearance. They are chemically bonded to the structure of the teeth but are not as durable as silver amalgam fillings.

The Procedure

Before your filing, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. The tooth is then prepared by removing the decayed portion and cleaning it thoroughly. This is done using a variety of tools, including a high-speed hand piece – sometimes known as a dental drill – and suction instruments. Remember, your mouth will be thoroughly numbed by this point, so you should be able to relax comfortably throughout the process.
Next, your dentist will use a composite restorative material in order to fill in the missing part of the tooth’s structure. It will be shaped to match the natural structure of the tooth. Before you leave, your dentist will have you bite down in order to ensure that the teeth fit together comfortably.
Fillings are extremely common and can be completed in one simple appointment at our office. Contact us today to learn more.