women getting fillings

Different Types of Dental Fillings

Are you experiencing pain or sensitivity when biting down on food? You might need a new filling. Dental fillings repair teeth damaged by decay, fractures, or wear and tear. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into dental fillings. We will examine the different materials used for dental fillings and their pros and cons, including the potential for galvanic shock. We’ll also explore the steps involved in filling a newly filled tooth and how to care for your teeth post-filling, as any pain or discomfort should go away on its own within a short period. Additionally, we will examine gold and silver fillings and their safety concerns along with composites and other contemporary filling types, including potential issues such as the fracturing of the remaining tooth and the sides of the new filling. 

Understanding Dental Fillings

Dental fillings play a crucial role in restoring decayed or damaged teeth. They not only address the problem but also help prevent further decay and tooth sensitivity. The process involves removing decayed material and filling the cavity with amalgam, composite resin, or gold. However, over time, a filling may need to be replaced due to various reasons, such as extensive decay or a large filling that has broken down the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling, also known as filling breaks on the sides of the filling or as a result of improper cavity preparation. It’s important to note that dental care is essential for maintaining the condition of fillings, especially for older restorations. By understanding the purpose and procedure involved, you can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your replacement filling.

Preparing for the Procedure

Before the dental filling procedure, the dentist will provide a detailed explanation of the type of filling material used and the process involved. To ensure a painless experience, a local anesthetic may be administered to numb the area. During the procedure, the tooth will be isolated and kept dry using a dental dam or cotton rolls. Decay will be removed, and the tooth cavity thoroughly cleaned using a particular piece of equipment, depending on the location and extent of the decay. It is essential to properly prepare the cavity to ensure the success of the filling procedure.

Pros and Cons of Different Filling Materials

Composite fillings, made of a tooth-colored resin, offer a natural appearance. However, they may need to be more durable in larger fillings. Gold fillings are long-lasting and well-tolerated by gum tissues. Still, they are also the most expensive option. Glass ionomer fillings release fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay in the surrounding area. Each filling material has its pros and cons, and dentists can provide the necessary information for making an informed decision.

Gold and Silver Fillings: A Closer Look

Gold fillings, known as gold crowns or inlays, are durable and biocompatible dental fillings. Silver fillings, also called amalgam fillings, have a long history of successful restorations and are highly durable. Gold fillings suit patients with gold allergies, while silver fillings may not be ideal for those with amalgam allergy concerns. The dental office can provide information on the benefits and considerations of gold and silver fillings.

Safety Concerns Regarding Silver (Amalgam) Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, contain a small amount of mercury, which has raised concerns about the release of mercury vapor. However, extensive research has shown that the mercury in amalgam fillings does not pose a health risk in the typical dental office setting. Pregnant women, in particular, are advised to consult their dentist regarding amalgam fillings and their health condition, although the risk is minimal. Dentists take special precautions when removing amalgam fillings to minimize mercury vapor exposure, which can cause symptoms of amalgam allergy, such as skin rashes and itching, similar to those experienced in a typical skin allergy. 

Composites and Other Contemporary Filling Types

Composites and other contemporary filling types, like glass ionomer fillings, offer patients various options for their dental fillings. Made from a tooth-colored resin material, composite fillings are a popular choice due to their natural appearance and use of composite material. These fillings provide a good seal against decay and can release fluoride, further protecting the teeth and making them an excellent option for young children. With advancements in dental materials, dentists can discuss the advantages and considerations of composite fillings and other contemporary filling types. By exploring these options, patients can find the best fit for their oral health needs.

Indirect Fillings: An Overview

Indirect fillings, such as gold, porcelain, or composite resin, are dental restorations created outside the tooth and bonded in place. They are commonly used for severe tooth decay, extensive damage, or when a root canal is needed. The process involves two dental visits, with a temporary filling placed during the first visit. Good dental care and regular check-ups are essential for maintaining the condition of indirect fillings. By using special light and dental filling materials, dentists ensure a natural appearance and a solid bond to the tooth with enough tooth structure. There are two types of indirect fillings — inlays and onlays, another type of inlay and onlay known as direct inlays and onlays, which are both placed during the second visit. However, it is essential to note that the entire work for indirect fillings is done outside the tooth before being bonded in place.


In conclusion, there are various types of dental fillings available, each with its pros and cons. It is essential to consult with your dentist to determine the best filling material for your specific dental needs. Additionally, proper care and maintenance of your teeth post-filling is crucial to ensure their longevity. Remember to maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, and visit your dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings. By taking these steps, you can maintain a healthy smile and prevent further dental issues.

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