patient getting dental filling

What is a filling?

Dental fillings are used to replace natural tooth material that’s lost because of decay. They are made from special materials used to restore damaged or decayed teeth. Common materials used for fillings are amalgam (silver) or composite (white).


What is the difference between a white filling and a silver filling?

Both types of fillings have the same job of restoring damaged or decayed teeth. White fillings are made up of a hard plastic material known as composite resin, with fillers that provide additional strength. A white filling is cured with a special light which means when your appointment is done, the filling is as hard as it will ever be. Silver fillings are made up of a compound of several different metals. Silver filling material is mixed just before placing it into the tooth and can take up to 24 hours to fully harden. Therefore we recommend not to eat anything sticky or chew on the side of the new filling during the curing time. Silver fillings in some cases might be recommended due to their durability over a white filling. Your dentist would be able to guide you to the best type of filling for your needs. 


How long does a filling last?

Fillings are designed to last for years, but do eventually break down and need to be replaced. The mouth is a harsh environment where fillings are exposed to moisture, plaque bacteria, and pressure from biting and chewing. Over time, older fillings may eventually begin to leak, break, or fall out. These are common dental issues and may require emergency dental care if the exposed area of the tooth is sensitive or painful.


How do I take care of my filling?

Taking care of your dental fillings is easy. They require regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day – just like your natural teeth. You should also avoid eating foods that contain too much sugar, such as soda, as well as acidic and processed foods. Make sure you visit your dentist at least once every six months to check on the progress of your fillings.


How long does it take the dentist to apply a filling?

Applying a dental filling doesn’t normally require more than one session. Depending on the amount of decay and how many teeth are affected will influence the duration of the filling process. For our patients’ comfort, we often will limit how many fillings we do at a time.


How much does a dental filling cost?

White dental fillings are becoming the most common option in the treatment of cavities. Amalgam is another alternative that tends to cost less. However, many patients prefer white resin composites because they blend in more naturally, and some are concerned about the effects of metal amalgam on their health. Dental fillings save in the long run as they lower the risk of more costly procedures such as root canals, extractions, and other restorative practices.

Like any dental procedure, there are a few factors that will determine the pricing of your filling. Your Dental Choice dentist will go over these with you ahead of time, but they could include:

  • The condition of your smile
  • The extent of the tooth decay
  • The location of the damaged tooth
  • Whether or not sedation is used


For more information or to book an appointment, contact a Dental Choice clinic near you. We’re here to help.

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