A dental filling, which may also be referred to as a restoration, is placed to fill a space where tooth structure has been compromised or where it has been lost. The presence of dental decay, a crack or fracture in a tooth, worn teeth or unsatisfactory pre-existing fillings may indicate the need for a dental filling. The process of placing a filling involves removal of any dental caries and pre-existing filling material. Your dental professional will often administer local anaesthetic to ensure the procedure is as comfortable for you as possible.
Once the unsatisfactory tooth structure is removed, the tooth surface is cleaned to ensure a filling material can be placed. A tooth may be filled with either a silver filling material known as amalgam or a tooth-coloured filling material – either composite resin or glass ionomer cement. Composite resin is often the material of choice as it comes in a variety of shades to closely match all tooth colours. Following placement of a filling, your dentist will ensure it is smooth and well-shaped to enable appropriate function and aesthetics. To care for a filling and enhance its longevity good oral hygiene and dietary habits are essential.