What is a dental filling?

A dental filling is a dental restorative material used to artificially restore missing tooth structure to proper anatomy and function. Missing tooth structure usually results from dental decay (cavities) or trauma to the tooth.

What is the dental filling made of?

The dental fillings we place are called composite dental fillings. The composite material is made out of a durable plastic resin and glass mixture. Composite or “white fillings” are tooth-colored and more esthetically pleasing. In fact, your dentist will match the color of the filling to the color of your teeth.

What about silver fillings?

Silver fillings are made of an amalgam of metal powders and set with a small amount of elemental mercury. Usually, the metal powders consist of silver, tin, and copper alloy. 

Amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry for over 100 years and is still commonly used today. Despite this, we do not offer amalgam fillings at our offices because patients are no longer interested because of their color and concerns about mercury levels.

However, amalgam fillings do NOT cause any harm and is still recommended by the American Dental Association. It has been shown that the amount of mercury in amalgam fillings do not cause harm over time to people with amalgam fillings.

In fact, when dental amalgams are placed, only low levels of mercury vapors are produced. The negative effects of mercury only occur when high levels of mercury vapor are inhaled. Furthermore, research shows that amalgam fillings are one of the best restorative dental materials available.

Are There Other Types of Dental Fillings?

There are other types of dental fillings, which include different types of metal, ceramics, and glass ionomers. However, we only offer composite fillings in our dentist’s offices because we have found them to be the most reliable.

What is the Dental Filling Procedure for Composite Fillings?

When you come in to get a cavity filled, your dentist will first inject a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. Next, your dentist will get to work removing the decay from your tooth by using a small drill.

Once the tooth decay is removed, the dentist will prepare the filling material and apply it to your tooth. Your dentist will then shape the material to your tooth, and remove any excess material. The filling will then be cured with a UV light and the procedure will be complete.

Do fillings hurt after they are placed?

Composite fillings are shown to have a higher incidence of temperature sensitivity postoperative. They sometimes take some time to get used to. Otherwise, there is no discomfort after the procedure.

How Do You Take Care of Dental Fillings?

We recommend that you avoid chewing hard and sticky foods on the teeth where you have a composite filling. Even though they look better than amalgam fillings, composite fillings are not as durable.

Specifically, you should avoid chewing popcorn kernels, ice cubes, and hard candy with your repaired teeth. If you would like more information about taking care of your fillings, you can read our blog article about How to Take Care of Your Dental Fillings.

What Do Dental Fillings Cost Usually?

Without insurance, a composite dental filling usually costs somewhere around $90 and may cost more depending on the service. We work with many types of insurance to help you reduce your expenses while getting the dental care you need.

Other Dental Treatments

Depending on the condition of your teeth, you may need more than just a simple filling.

For tooth discoloration, stains, or chips, ask your dentist about dental bonding or veneers.

If your teeth are weak, damaged, or need extra protection, you may need a dental crown.

Farther progressed cases of tooth decay will require extraction, but you don’t have to live with a gap in your smile! Ask us about our dental implants, a dental bridge, or dentures.