Tooth Filling: Save Your Tooth Before Its Too Late

In this article

In this article

You recently visited a dentist for a checkup, and the dentist told you that you need a tooth filling. You are not alone. The majority of people need at least one filling in their lives. What exactly does that mean? When a tooth is decayed, a filling can restore its normal function and shape while preventing further deterioration. You don’t need to worry because it is also one of the most common treatments done in the dental office.

Tooth fillings or also known as dental fillings come in various materials such as metals, polymers, glass, or other materials used to fix or restore teeth. These materials are used to “fill” cavities or decayed areas of teeth. Additionally, they are used to restore broken or cracked teeth.

How to determine if you need a tooth filling?

Your dentist carefully examines the surface of each tooth by using a mouth mirror and a probe. Anything that appears abnormal, such as discoloration, sensitivity to temperature fluctuations, or a defect, will be closely examined and an x-ray will be taken. The course of treatment depends on the degree of damage and the filling you choose.

tooth filling
The dentist using a mirror to identify tooth cavities.

Tooth filling procedure

The dentist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the tooth that needs filling.

The dentist then uses a drill or a spoon excavator to remove the decayed region. The choice of instrument depends mainly on the clinical situation, as well as the location and severity of the decay.

The next step is for your dentist to examine or probe the region to see if all decay has been removed.

After removing the decay, the dentist will clean out the cavity of bacteria and debris to prepare the area for the filling.

If the decay is close to the root, your dentist could place a liner made of glass ionomer, or another substance to protect the nerve.

A few extra measures are taken for tooth-colored fillings. Occasionally a rubber dam is placed to help with moisture control as tooth-colored fillings are moisture sensitive. The tooth-colored material is put in layers after your dentist has cleaned the region and removed the decay.

tooth filling
A rubber dam is used to ensure teeth are dry.

The next step involves applying a specific light to “cure” or harden each layer. After completing the multilayering procedure, the dentist will mold the composite material to get the desired effect, trim off any extra material, and polish the finished repair.

Tooth filling benefits

Prevent the expansion of the cavity

Before placing a filling, your dentist removes the decaying portion of your tooth. Next, the filler material is poured in, sealing the gap. This protects against exposing the dentine’s nerve endings to the temperatures of the food you eat and the acids produced by oral bacteria. Cavities frequently cause toothaches because these nerves are exposed.

Strengthen broken teeth

One can use fillings to fix a broken tooth. A white composite is usually used for this purpose. Teeth may fracture due to intense force during sports or accidents. Your teeth may also crack when you chew on something hard, such as ice or candies. As you age, teeth become weak and are more prone to fractures and chipping.

Improve the color of your teeth

Composite resins are used to fill the teeth with significant staining and discoloration. Red wine and coffee are two examples of foods that can discolor your teeth. Bad habits like bruxism can also result in the loss of natural teeth color. Fillings can help improve and restore the natural color of your teeth.

Protect against tooth decay

Your teeth occasionally develop small holes that aren’t cavities but tend to collect debris and bits of food. These holes will eventually cause tooth decay over time. Fortunately, a filling can seal them off and prevent further decay.

What to expect after tooth filling?

Your mouth will still be numb (if local anesthesia was administered during the procedure) when you leave the dental clinic. The numbness should subside in one to two hours. Even while you shouldn’t experience any severe pain, it’s normal for the filled tooth to become abruptly sensitive to heat and cold. The nerves in your tooth become inflamed due to all the drilling and filling, a common side effect of having a tooth filled. Contact your dentist if the sensitivity persists for a few days.

Your gums may also experience some minor soreness following the procedure. This can be due to the anesthetic injections or the dental equipment rubbing on the interior of your mouth. Try some home remedies or take an over-the-counter pain medication if the soreness bothers you.

Even though your dentist tries to polish and smooth every filling after it is put in, they might occasionally miss an area. This may result in a feeling of biting down on something sharp or pointy. Contact your dentist, who will remove the rough edges so you can speak and eat comfortably.

How to take care of a filled tooth?

Dental fillings can last for decades if you take good care of them and the surrounding teeth. You should take a few steps after getting a filling to keep it from becoming loose and to stop the nearby tooth from getting any more decay.

Regular tooth brushing and flossing

Continue to clean your teeth twice daily and use floss every day. Give the tooth with a filling a little extra attention when brushing. This prevents decay around the filling by ensuring that the area around it is clear of plaque and oral bacteria.

When flossing, use extreme caution if the filling is on the tooth’s edge. Avoid catching the filling, which could break it. Don’t force it; instead, use extra-thin floss and softly slide it between your teeth.

Avoid foods that are too crunchy and sticky

Now that you have a filling, you don’t need to make any significant dietary changes. But you should refrain from using your teeth to split nuts, chew on hard confectionery, or eat ice. Avoid chewy caramel and taffy as well. Foods that are too sticky may cause a filling to become loose, allowing decay to begin around it.

Use a fluoride rinse

If your tooth has been filled, find out from your dentist if it’s a good idea to use a fluoride rinse. Patients with large fillings and those who have historically struggled with decay are frequently advised to do this. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Fluoride rinses are readily available over the counter and should be used once daily after brushing.

tooth filling
A fluoridated mouthwash is recommended to strengthen teeth.

Types of tooth fillings

There are many dental filling materials available today. Gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (mercury combined with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), tooth-colored, and composite resin fillings are all options for filling teeth. Another substance, called glass ionomer, contains glass particles and is used as a filling.

The appropriate filling depends on the location and severity of the decay, the cost of the material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s advice.

What is indirect tooth filling?

Indirect fillings are similar to regular dental fillings, except that they are made in a dental laboratory and need to be inserted over two visits. Indirect fillings may be an option when you don’t have enough dental structure to sustain a filling, but your tooth isn’t too badly injured to require a crown.

During the initial visit, debris or an outdated filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth that is being fixed and the teeth around it. The indirect filling is created in a dental laboratory using the imprint.

A temporary filling is put in place to keep the tooth safe while your permanent filling is being made. The temporary filling is taken out during the second appointment, and the dentist examines the fitting of the permanent filling. If the fit is satisfactory, it is placed with cement.

Indirect fillings have two types: Inlays and Onlays.

Inlays are similar to fillings in that they cover the full chewing surface of the tooth within the cusps (bumps). Onlays cover one or more cusps and are larger than inlays.

How long do tooth fillings last?

Dental fillings often last for 10 years or more. In addition to the materials used, other elements that affect the lifespan of fillings include:

  • Your eating habits
  • Dental care
  • Trauma to your teeth
  • Decay around the filling
  • Teeth grinding at night

Even though multiple factors determine how long fillings last, the materials used can give you an approximation of how much a specific filling should last.

Tooth fillings risks

Although the complications of dental filling are rare, complications can arise during the treatment or your recovery.

Potential risks include:

  • Anesthesia side effects like an allergic response and blood vessel or nerve damage
  • Development of a cavity at the filling
  • The filling may expand or contract, affecting the tooth
  • Lip or mouth injury
  • Heat and cold sensitivity in the affected tooth

When can you eat and drink after a tooth filling?

Avoid eating anything extremely hot or cold immediately after getting a filling. Dentists advise the patients to wait at least two hours after the procedure before resuming their normal eating routine. Even so, you should avoid extremely dense or sticky foods.

Tooth fillings alternatives

There are options like crowns and inlays; however, these can be expensive. Veneers can be used in place of crowns or fillings on the front teeth.

Dental crowns are designed to feel identical to a real tooth. They cover a chipped tooth and protect the tooth’s root. A dental crown can resemble a genuine tooth and give you a usable chewing surface.

Tooth filling price

The price of tooth filling at Stellar Dental Setia Alam and Stellar Dental Kota Damansara depends on the size of your tooth cavity. For a small tooth filling the price will be RM80-RM150 and for a bigger hole, it is RM150-RM300.


Dental fillings are an excellent way to fill cavities in the teeth. However, you must go to an authentic and reputable dental clinic to get the procedure. At Stellar Dental, we only use the most advanced dental materials for dental cavity fillings. These materials allow us to fill dental cavities with the most long-lasting, strongest, and most durable results that are also aesthetically pleasing. Book an appointment today to get virtually undetectable dental filling and restore tooth function with long-lasting results.

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