Tooth Fillings and 3 main types of Tooth Fillings Materials

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Tooth fillings are made to restore teeth that have been worn down, including cracked or fractured teeth (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding). Your dentist will first remove the affected portion of the tooth before filling the hole left on the tooth where the decayed material was removed. Let’s find out every information about tooth fillings with the below article!

Tooth Fillings Procedure

To start the tooth fillings procedure, the dentist will initially use a local anesthetic to temporarily numb the tissue around the tooth. Next, a drill, air abrasion tool, or laser will be used to remove the decaying area. The tool selection is influenced by the dentist’s comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment, as well as the location and severity of the decay.

Your dentist will then probe or check the area to see if all of the decay has been removed. The dentist will prepare the space for the filling as soon as the decay has been entirely removed by cleaning out the cavity of bacteria and debris.

Your dentist must place a liner composed of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another substance to protect the nerve if the decay has already spread close to the root. Your dentist will frequently polish and finalize the tooth fillings after they have been placed.

The additional actions below must be taken in order to get dental fillings that fit your teeth. Before systematically putting the tooth-colored material on, your dentist will first remove the decay and clean the area. Then, each layer is “cured” or made harder using a certain light. The dentist will mold the composite material to get the desired outcome after completing the multilayering procedure, cut off any extra material, and polish the finished repair.

Types of Tooth Fillings Materials

Today, a variety of materials are available for tooth fillings. There are several materials available for filling teeth, including gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (mercury coupled with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), tooth-colored plastic, and compounds referred to as composite resin fillings. Glass particles are also present in a different material known as a glass ionomer. This compound is used in a similar way as composite resin fillings.

The ideal type of filling for you will vary depending on the location and extent of the decay, the cost of the material, your insurance coverage, and their recommendations.

Types of Tooth Fillings
Problems With Tooth Fillings. Types of Tooth Fillings Materials. Tooth Fillings Procedure

Cast Gold Fillings

Advantages of cast gold fillings:

  • Durability: lasts at least ten to fifteen years, and frequently much longer; doesn’t corrode a strong jaw that can sustain chewing pressure
  • Aesthetics: Compared to silver amalgam fillings, some patients feel gold to be more aesthetically beautiful.

Cast-gold fillings’ drawbacks:

  • Cost: Gold cast fillings are up to 10 times more expensive than silver amalgam fillings and more expensive than other materials.
  • Additional office appointments: at least two office visits are necessary to put
Tooth Fillings: Cast gold
Tooth Fillings: Cast gold

Filled with silver (Amalgams)

Benefits of having silver fillings:

  • Durability: Silver fillings often outlive composite (tooth-colored) fillings by at least 10 to 15 years.
    a strong jaw that can sustain chewing pressure
  • Cost: may be less costly than composite fillings

Disadvantages of silver fillings:

  • Poor aesthetics: Due to the fact that they don’t match the color of natural teeth, silver dental fillings are unattractive. Since it’s usually required to remove healthy tooth tissue in order to make a cavity big enough to accept the amalgam tooth filling, more tooth structure is lost.
  • Discoloration: Amalgam dental fillings may appear gray on the surrounding tooth structure.
  • Cracks and fractures: In the presence of hot and cold liquids, all teeth expand and contract, which may ultimately cause the tooth to fracture or crack. However, compared to other filling materials, amalgam material may suffer a broader degree of expansion and contraction, which may lead to a higher frequency of cracks and fractures.
  • Allergic reactions: A small percentage of people—about 1%—are sensitive to the mercury included in amalgam dental fillings.
Tooth Fillings: Silver (Amalgams)
Tooth Fillings: Silver (Amalgams)

The amalgam releases small amounts of mercury in the form of a vapor that may be inhaled and taken up by the lungs. High amounts of mercury vapor exposure have been associated with renal and brain damage. Since studies have not linked amalgam dental fillings to health problems, the FDA considers them safe for adults and children aged 6 and older.

Tooth-colored Composites

Advantages of composites:

  • Aesthetics: The tone and color of composite tooth fillings may be precisely matched to the surrounding teeth. Composites work particularly well on front teeth or other visible tooth surfaces.
  • Bonding to tooth structure: Composite fillings micro mechanically attach to tooth structure to provide further support.
  • Versatility: Composite fillings can be used to repair chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth in addition to serving as a decay-filling substance.
  • Tooth-sparing preparation: When eliminating cavities and preparing for the filling, less tooth structure may need to be removed than when using amalgam fillings.

Disadvantages of composites:

  • Lack of durability: These dental fillings are more stain-resistant than materials made of composite resin since they are frequently made of porcelain. This material frequently lasts for more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.
  • Increased chair time: Due to the method used to apply the composite material, these tooth fillings might take up to 20 minutes longer to place than amalgam fillings.
  • Additional visits: If composites are used for inlays or onlays, many office visits can be required. Composite materials may chip away at the tooth, depending on where they are placed.
  • Cost: Composite fillings can be up to twice as expensive as amalgam ones.

There are two more tooth-colored fillings besides tooth-colored composite resin fillings: ceramics and glass ionomer.

Other Tooth Fillings Types


  • These tooth fillings are often composed of porcelain and are more stain-resistant than materials made of composite resin. This substance may cost as much as gold and often lasts for more than 15 years.

Acrylic and a certain kind of glass are used to create glass ionomers: 

  • The most common places to use this material for fillings are in young children and below the gum line (drilling is still required). Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can prevent further tooth decay. Although less resistant to wear and tear than composite resin, this material is more fragile. The average lifespan of glass ionomer is five years or less, and its price is comparable to that of composite resin.

Dental Insurance Cover the Cost of Composites

The majority of dental insurance policies only pay for composite tooth fillings up to the cost of a silver filling; any additional costs may need to be covered by the patient.

Indirect Tooth Fillings

Similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings, indirect fillings are created in a dental laboratory and must be implanted over the course of two visits. When there is not enough dental structure to sustain a filling but the tooth is not too badly injured to require a crown, indirect fillings may be an option.

Because silver fillings are not the same hue as natural teeth, their usage is understandable. Any debris or outdated fillings are removed at the initial session. An impression is taken in order to record the contour of the tooth being treated and the teeth next to it. The impression is given to a dental office that will make the indirect filling.

A temporary filling is placed on the tooth to protect it while the restoration is being constructed (described below). After removing the temporary filling during the second session, the dentist will assess how well the indirect restoration fits. It will be firmly fixed in place if the fit is satisfactory.

The two different types of indirect fillings are inlays and onlays.

  • Inlays cover the whole chewing surface of the tooth within the cusps, much like tooth fillings do (bump).
  • Onlays are bigger than inlays and cover one or more cusps. Onlays are also referred to as partial crowns.

See more: Dental crowns and what are onlays and 3/4 crowns?

Compared to traditional fillings, inlays and onlays are stronger and can last up to 30 years.

They can be constructed of porcelain, gold, or composite resin that is tooth-colored. Because it may cover the top chewing surface and distribute stresses throughout the teeth like a crown, an onlay can be utilized to protect a tooth that is already fragile.

Inlays and onlays that are made directly in the mouth and may be placed in a single appointment are a different type of inlay or onlay that follow similar procedures to indirect inlays and onlays. The kind of inlay or onlay used depends on how much healthy tooth structure is still there, as well as any cosmetic considerations.

Tooth fillings
Problems With Tooth Fillings. Types of Tooth Fillings Materials. Tooth Fillings Procedure

Temporary Tooth Fillings and Why Would I Need One?

In the following situations, temporary fillings are used:

  • For tooth fillings that need more than one session, such as those that use composite materials, call for prior placement of gold fillings, or utilize certain filling techniques (known as indirect fillings)
  • After a root canal
  • To help the nerve “slow down” when a tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed
  • The only time temporary tooth fillings should be utilized is when acute dental treatment is necessary (such as to relieve a toothache). They frequently break, wear out, or fall out within a month.
  • Make an appointment with your dentist to replace a temporary filling with a permanent one. If you don’t, you might contract an infection or have other problems.

Amalgam-Type Tooth Fillings

Over the past few years, there have been concerns raised about silver-colored fillings, sometimes referred to as amalgam dental fillings. Some people think that these dangerous mercury-filled fillings are to blame for a number of conditions, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

There is no evidence to support tooth fillings harming consumers, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), the FDA, and several public health organizations. There is still no recognized etiology for autism, Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. Additionally, the claim that removing amalgam fillings may heal a person of these or any other illnesses is unsupported by reliable scientific research.

Amalgam fillings, which have been used by dentists for more than a century to save and cure hundreds of millions of decaying teeth, include mercury as well as other metals including silver, copper, tin, and zinc.

Mercury is a component of dental amalgams, which the FDA warned “may have neurotoxic effects on the neurological systems of developing newborns and fetuses” in June 2008.

There’s still more. The FDA states that people who might be pregnant or who might have a health issue that makes them more susceptible to mercury exposure, including people who already have high levels of mercury bioburden, “should not avoid seeking dental care, but rather should discuss options with their health practitioner.”

The modifications are in response to a case filed by consumer advocacy organizations and people worried about mercury exposure. The FDA consented to update its website as part of the settlement.


You should maintain good oral hygiene, which includes visiting the dentist for scaling and polishing deep cleanings periodically, brushing and flossing with fluoride-containing toothpaste, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash at least once per day.

If your dentist has reason to suspect that a filling may be cracked or is “leaking,” which occurs when the sides of the tooth fillings don’t fit tightly against the tooth fillings and allow debris and saliva to seep down between the tooth fillings and the tooth, which can cause decay, they will take X-rays to assess the situation.

Make an appointment with your dentist if your tooth is incredibly sensitive, you feel a sharp edge, you see a crack in the filling, or if a portion of the filling is missing.

Problems With Tooth Fillings

Tooth Pain and Sensitivity

After a filling has been put in, teeth might become sensitive. A tooth could be sensitive to things like temperature, sweet foods, air pressure, and other things. Usually, the sensitivity goes away on its own within a few weeks. Avoid anything that makes you sensitive at this time. Usually, painkillers are not necessary.

If the soreness lasts longer than two to four weeks or if your tooth is very sensitive, call your dentist. A root canal treatment, the use of a desensitizing toothpaste, or the direct application of a desensitizing substance to the tooth are all possible recommendations.

Problems With Tooth Fillings
Problems With Tooth Fillings. Types of Tooth Fillings Materials. Tooth Fillings Procedure

Pain surrounding the tooth fillings spot is another possibility. If you have pain when you bite, the filling may be blocking your bite. To have the filling reshaped, you must make another appointment with your dentist.

Two different metal surfaces are likely to be to blame if you experience pain when your teeth come into contact (for example, the silver amalgam in a newly filled tooth and a gold crown on another tooth with which it touches). This soreness should disappear on its own in a short period of time.

If the decay was extensive or close to the tooth pulp, you can experience discomfort similar to a toothache. The “toothache” response may indicate that this tissue is no longer healthy. If so, root canal therapy can be required.

People can experience referred pain, also known as discomfort or sensitivity in teeth other than the one that has the filling. This soreness could not be coming from a tooth problem. Only other teeth are receiving the “pain signals” that the filled tooth is sending. This soreness should go away on its own within one to two weeks.

Tooth fillings
Problems With Tooth Fillings. Types of Tooth Fillings Materials. Tooth Fillings Procedure

Deteriorating Fillings

If the previous filling is large or the recurring decay is severe, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a new filling. Your dentist might have to use a crown instead of a filling in specific circumstances.

New fillings can be lost due to improper cavity preparation, contamination before the filling is applied, or a cracked filling from a bite or chewing stress. Older restorations are typically lost because to deterioration or fracture of the remaining tooth.

Below is an article that Lang moi shares for you, if you have any questions that need to be answered, don’t be hesitate to contact us!

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