Dental decay can lead to damage and pain,
but our team of experts at Chelmsford Dental is here to help you regain your oral health.

What is a Filling?

When a tooth is compromised by decay (known as a cavity), a filling is used to repair the damage and prevent bacteria from entering the tooth. The damaged area is removed and "filled" using a variety of different materials.
Fillings are also used to repair broken or cracked teeth or teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as tooth-grinding or nail-biting).

What Are the Different Types of Fillings?

There are several different types of fillings:

  • Composite fillings – Composite fillings are a natural-looking, popular solution made of resin, a soft and malleable material. A blue light is used to harden the composite. The result is a durable solution that matches the colour and shade of your natural teeth.
  • Amalgam fillings – Amalgam is a mix of metal alloys that start out soft and harden once in place. Amalgam fillings are silver in colour; the dark colour contrasts sharply from surrounding teeth. As a result, they have fallen out of favour as a filling material in recent years.
  • Porcelain and ceramics – Porcelain is used to make onlays and inlays – restorations used when a large amount of tooth structure needs to be replaced. Onlays and inlays retain more of the natural tooth structure than a crown and help strengthen a weakened tooth.

What Happens During a Filling Procedure?

Good news: thanks to modern anesthetics, getting a filling is virtually painless! First, the tooth and the surrounding area is numbed. Next, any decay is removed using a high-speed dental handpiece. The goal is to leave as much of the natural tooth structure intact as possible.

The cavity is then disinfected and dried before the filling material (most often composite resin) is put in place. After the material is hardened, it is adjusted to match your bite and polished to look and feel like a natural tooth.

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Fissure and Siffure Sealants FAQ's

What Are Fissure Sealants?

Sometimes the fissures and pits in the back teeth are so deep that the bristles of a toothbrush are unable to effectively clean the surface of these teeth. This can create a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to decay.
In this case, a fissure seal may be applied to fill the fissures and act as a barrier to food debris, bacteria, and plaque.

How Long Does a Filling Last?

Fillings are under constant stress in a wet, warm environment that is surrounded by bacteria. Because of this, the average lifespan of a filling is about 10 years. Occasionally, a filling may fall out, break, or crack. The key to maintaining a filling is good oral hygiene and regular check-ups with your dentist.

What is the After-care Following the Placement of Fillings?

When a filling is placed, it is recommended to avoid eating or drinking until the anesthesia wears off (usually within three hours). During the first week following the procedure, hot or cold drinks may cause sensitivity.

If you experience any pain or the new filling does not feel right, please contact your dentist as it may require a simple adjustment.