A dental filling is an experience that takes off the great feeling you have immediately your dentist gently announce to you that you need one. You begin to wonder about the cost, the time and most likely the pains. Naturally, all these need your immediate consideration but your prime concern should center most on your dental health.

What a Tooth Filling Is

Tooth feeling is the process of removing a damaged (decayed) and the hole or cavity created is refilled with a specified replacement material. This is in order to salvage the teeth from further damage. The purposes of tooth fillings include restoration of the damaged tooth, its original appearance, and to enable it to function well.

The material used in the procedure is called filling, which can be made of different materials such as gold, composite resin, silver amalgam, porcelain, and glass ionomer.

Each of the filling material has its own cost, advantages and some advantages. It is important that a consideration and agreement is reached between a dentist and the client before embarking on tooth filling procedure to determine which material is best suited for the condition of the ailing tooth. The tooth filling is an integral part of dental care.

Tooth Cavity

Before your dentist will recommend you to go for a dental filling, he must have discovered some abnormalities in your teeth structure. It means a tooth has been discovered to have a cavity or decay in it. Cavity starts in a very small manner but may steadily expand to become bigger if left unmanaged. It may surprise you to know that you may have tooth decay or cavity yet without any noticeable pain at the onset. This may lead to a bigger cavity before it is detected. The regular dental check-up will make early detection possible. Today tooth decay or cavity is very common worldwide.

Symptoms of Tooth Cavities

The symptoms of a decay vary depending on how acute is the decay. Some of the symptoms include:

  • tooth pain
  • tooth sensitivity
  • a noticeable hole in the teeth
  • staining the tooth which can be black or white

Constant protection of your teeth is the safest way to protect tooth decay. This may include:

  1. Using toothpaste twice in a day
  2. Flossing daily
  3. Making plans to visit your dentist at least two times a year

Tooth filling materials

There are five major types of tooth filling materials. Each of them have some advantages over the others.

  • Composite fillings: These are composed of resin and a blend of plastic material inserted into the hole or cavity when still in the soft state before it hardens up. The curing light hastens up the hardening. They are tooth-colored fillings. Also, the composite can be shaded to match the original teeth set. Though it does not last like other types of filling materials it can be replaced after about five years.
  • Ceramic Fillings: Ceramic fillings are the product of porcelain. Its greatest advantage is that it’s long-lasting and attractive. Though they are expensive, they have the stain-resistant ability and tooth colored durable.
  • Silver Amalgam Fillings: Silver Amalgam is an amalgamation of 50% of different minerals like silver, zinc, tin, copper and 50% of mercury. It is a popular choice among the filling materials because it is not really expensive, it durable and strong. Silver amalgam is long-lasting up to an average of 15 years. It is easy to fix into the cavity with the risk of contamination by saliva or blood.

The greatest concern over silver amalgam is that it exhibit expansion and contraction ability which can create a cavity in the same hole in the future. One of the major shortcomings of Silver amalgam is that of its color shade which makes it unsuitable for very bright colored teeth.

  • Glass Ionomer Fillings: These filling materials are one of the best suited for children because they are not long lasting, normally less than five years. They can release fluoride which helps the teeth to be free from more decay. They are not as strong as ceramic fillings so they can easily wear out and even crack. They don’t usually match tooth color closely like ceramic fillings.
  • Gold Fillings: These types of fillings are not really easy like the other types, and more so, they are expensive. The fixing is more complex than other fillings. Though they are long lasting for about fifteen years or even more and they do not corrode. Gold fillings are very strong.


Besides the traditional dental fillings, we have the indirect and temporary fillings:

  • Indirect Fillings: These are dental laboratory fabricated composite fillings. In this filling procedure, two or more visits may be required to the dental clinic before you have a perfect and complete service. If the tooth structure that remains is too fragile to support a filling, indirect fillings may be required. We have two types of indirect fillings namely; inlays and onlays. Inlays and Onlays could be much more long-lasting than even the conventional fillings. The lifespan of inlays and onlays have been put at 30 years.
  • Temporary Fillings: Are another filling procedure when the root canal and /or the pulp of the tooth are swollen. Temporary fillings are placed as a succor to heal in readiness for the permanent fillings. In order not to expose the root or the pulp of the affected tooth, the temporary fillings are used to prevent infection.


Concerns About Metal Fillings

There were initial health concerns about the use of metal fillings, especially the use of Silver Amalgam which is a combination of Silver, zinc, tin, copper, and mercury. But deeper researches have long time ago allayed the fear. FDA had a pronouncement of the safety of Silver amalgam risk-free as a dental filling material.

Final Thought

Dental fillings have really come to stay in solving the escalating rate of dental problems. Using the right filling procedure and the FDA approved filling materials, it is becoming easier to resolve tooth cavity or tooth decay problems worldwide.