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A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. It is also lost intentionally during tooth preparation to improve the aesthetics or the physical integrity of the intended restorative material. Dental restoration also refers to the replacement of missing tooth structure that is supported by dental implants. It can be divided into two broad types: direct restorations and indirect restorations. All dental restorations can be further classified by their location and size. A root canal filling is a restorative technique used to fill the space where the dental pulp normally resides.

Dental restoration at the dentist

Table of Contents

  1. Types of Dental Fillings
  2. Procedure for Dental Fillings
  3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Filling Materials
  4. Indirect Fillings
  5. Risks and Safety Concerns
  6. Post-Procedure Care

Types of Dental Fillings

There are several types of materials that can be used for dental fillings:

  • Gold: Known for durability, lasting 10 to 15 years.
  • Porcelain: Resistant to staining and can last more than 15 years.
  • Silver Amalgam: Contains mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. It is less expensive and can last at least 10 to 15 years.
  • Composite Resin: Tooth-colored material that can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth.
  • Glass Ionomer: Used mainly for fillings below the gum line and releases fluoride that can help protect from further decay.

Procedure for Dental Fillings

The standard procedure for dental fillings involves several steps:

  1. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area.
  2. Decayed or damaged tooth material is removed.
  3. The tooth is prepared for the filling, often by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris.
  4. The filling material is applied.
  5. The filling is shaped, finished, and polished.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Filling Materials

Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, gold and porcelain fillings are more expensive but offer greater durability. Silver amalgam fillings are less expensive but may cause aesthetic concerns due to their color. Composite resins offer aesthetic benefits but may not be as durable as other materials.

Indirect Fillings

Indirect fillings are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings but are made in a dental laboratory. They are used when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling but the tooth is not so damaged that it requires a crown. They can be made of various materials and are more durable than traditional fillings.

Risks and Safety Concerns

While dental fillings are generally considered safe, there are some risks and safety concerns associated with certain types of fillings. For example, silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, which has led to safety concerns for pregnant women and young children.

Post-Procedure Care

After receiving a dental filling, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene. This includes regular dental check-ups, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing. If you experience any issues such as sensitivity or pain, consult your dentist immediately.


About Forest & Ray

Forest & Ray is a private dentist in London (Holborn, Camden) offering a wide range of treatments (basically everything), same-day appointments 7 days a week and affordable prices. The key behind a beautiful smile is self confidence, and success. At Forest & Ray we ensure to help you to the best of our ability. If you place your trust in us, we will make sure you achieve your goals and maintain oral hygiene to the maximum of its capacity. Regardless of any age or condition, we promise painless treatments and a professional team.

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General Dentist London
Orthodontist London
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