Dental Fillings

Stomatologist working with dental spatula and cement for fillings

What are dental fillings?

Fillings are also used to repair teeth that have been worn down due to usage, such as those that have been cracked or shattered (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding). To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed.

What is involved in filling a tooth?

The dentist will first numb the region around the tooth to be filled using a local anaesthetic. The deteriorated region will next be removed with a drill, an air abrasion device, or a laser. The instrument chosen is determined by the dentist’s level of comfort, training, and investment in the piece of equipment, as well as the location and amount of the decay.

The region will then be probed or tested by your dentist to see if all of the decay has been removed. After the decay has been removed, the dentist will clean the cavity of bacteria and debris in preparation for the filling. Your dentist may first place a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another substance to protect the nerve if the decay is near the root. Your dentist will usually complete and polish the filling after it has been placed.

Tooth-colored fillings necessitate a few extra steps, which are outlined below. The tooth-colored material is put in layers after your dentist has removed the decay and cleansed the area. After that, each layer is exposed to a specific light that “cure” or hardens it. The dentist will mould the composite material to the desired result, trim off any extra material, and polish the final restoration after the multilayering process is completed.

What is a temporary filling and why would I need one?

Temporary fillings are used under the following circumstances:

  • For fillings that require more than one session, such as gold fillings and certain indirect filling methods (also known as indirect fillings) that use composite materials.
  • After a root canal.
  • Allowing the nerve of a tooth to “calm down” if the pulp becomes irritated.
  • If you require emergency dental care (such as to address a toothache).


Temporary fillings are only supposed to last a short time. Within a month, they usually fall out, shatter, or wear out. Make an appointment with your dentist to replace a temporary filling with a permanent one. If you don’t, the tooth may become infected, and you may experience other problems.

How should I care for my teeth with fillings?

To keep your fillings in good shape, practise good dental hygiene, including seeing your dentist for cleanings on a regular basis, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash at least once a day. If your dentist suspects a filling is broken or “leaking” (when the filling’s sides don’t fit securely against the tooth, dirt and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth, causing decay), X-rays will be taken to analyse the condition. Call us for an appointment if your tooth is excessively sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you see a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing.

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