Dental Fillings


Where a tooth has decay or accidental damage, your dentist may recommend something called dental fillings.

This simple operative procedure ensures that all decay and affected tooth structure will be cleanly removed and replaced with a durable filling material. Your dentist will also advise you on the best materials to use to restore your tooth.

There are two types of fillings; Silver (amalgam) fillings and white fillings. Fillings stick to teeth so they can be used to repair teeth, which are chipped, broken or decayed.

About Dental Fillings

The Steps in a Filling Placement
A special gel (topical anaesthetic) is placed using a cotton wool roll around the gum of the affected tooth. A short injection is administered (local anaesthetic). This numbs the area and can last for a couple of hours. As always, your dentist will remind you to be careful of your lip and affected area for some time (usually 2 hours) after the procedure. This is to ensure that you don’t unknowingly bite your lip/affected area. Routinely there are two restorative (filling) materials to choose from; Amalgam and Composite.


This silver material is a compound of silver, copper, tin and zinc with a trace element of mercury. It has been used in the practice of dentistry for decades. Amalgam is strong and durable. It is traditionally used in teeth at the back (molar teeth). It has a long working life usually. Amalgam is easily placed and can withstand significant pressure from opposing teeth during chewing.


Composite/White Filling Material
White filling materials have been in use in dentistry for some time and are not actually white, but tooth coloured. Your dentist will choose a shade that best matches your natural tooth colour, making the restoration look as similar to your own tooth as possible. This makes the filling look almost seamless. White filling material can best be thought of as a mouldable plastic. This material is packed into a prepared tooth and “toughened” or “cured” using a special blue light.

Once the filling is placed, your dentist will soften/smoothen the surface to ensure that it is the same height and shape as your tooth’s surface. They will also check how your restored tooth works opposite your other teeth when you bite or clench your teeth. This ensures that your bite is even and consistent.


Where a filling is deemed to be deep or large, your dentist may encourage you to closely follow the tooth’s progress after placement of a filling. This is to ensure the best treatment outcome for you.


Careful review of restorations occurs at the next check-up. If you have any queries in relation to this or any aspect of your dental care, please let your dentist know and they will answer any questions you may have.

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