Fillings – what are they? How do they work?

Fillings are used to fill up cavities that are from tooth decay as well as chips and cracks in the tooth. There are a few different types of filling materials used, including gold, amalgam and ceramic/porcelain fillings, and the right one for you will be recommended to you by your dentist.

The general procedure for a filling involves the following:

  1. Numbing of the area
  2. Preparing the tooth by removing any decay or old fillings, then cleaning and drying it
  3. Filling the tooth with the appropriate filling material
  4. Adjusting the filling to ensure a smooth surface and no discomfort

Why might you need a filling?

You will likely need a filling if a cavity has formed in one of your teeth. Cavities are caused by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Enamel loss
  • Tooth fractures
  • Cracked lines formed by weak tooth structure and grinding
  • A broken or lost filling

The symptoms to look out for to determine if any of the above has occurred are:

  • Sensitivity to heat or cold pressure
  • Toothache
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Rough tooth surface
  • Breakage of floss in a particular area

A lot of the time, these cavities can form without any symptoms and can cause further tooth decay if left untreated. This is why it is important to maintain regular dental check ups so your dentist is able to identify any cavities and prevent further damage.


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