What happens when you get a dental filling?

Tooth removal

A dental filling is required when a cavity forms in the tooth from decay. A dentist can remove the decay and fill the cavity with a special material to restore the appearance and function of the tooth.

Why would I need a dental filling?

Patients often need dental fillings due to cavities caused by decay to prevent tooth loss. A patient’s existing fillings may also need replacing from time to time. Here are the most common reasons patients require dental fillings:

A tooth cavity caused by decay

To replace broken fillings

To replace mercury fillings

What’s the procedure?

There are now a number of different filling types available to suit different types of tooth cavities, all of which have their own benefits:

  • Amalgam fillings are made from a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. Extensive research has proved that amalgam fillings are not harmful; but they are generally not placed or removed in pregnant women. These fillings are extremely durable and can withstand the chewing function of the molars.
  • Composite resin fillings are an alternative to traditional amalgam dental fillings. They are made of a plastic dental resin to match the colour of the patient’s natural teeth. These types of fillings are durable, lasting six to twelve years, and also create a natural looking smile. Composite resin fillings also bond to the tooth to strengthen the natural structure and help to prevent further damage.
  • Root fillings are used when there is deep decay or injury to a tooth, which can destroy tissue and blood vessels, increasing the chance of infection. During the treatment, the decayed material is drilled out and cleaned, before the cavity is filled and a crown installed to restore the tooth.

Dental filling costs vary depending on the extent of treatment, materials used and location in the patients’ mouth. We invest in quality materials and clinician training to ensure that the general dentistry we provide is state of the art and is designed to last. For full details on our treatments and costs take a look at our fees page.

Mike Hesketh

Owner & Principal Dentist

The Exeter Dental Centre