Dental Fillings: What They Are and Signs You Need to Get Them

Oral health is an essential part of overall health, and it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent dental problems such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. For this reason, regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are essential in maintaining oral health. However, despite our best efforts, sometimes dental problems occur, and it becomes necessary to seek dental treatment to prevent further damage.

When dental problems occur, dentists usually recommend various treatments. One example is dental fillings, one of the most common dental procedures for treating tooth decay and cavities. They are a simple and effective way to restore a damaged tooth, preventing further decay and improving oral health. Dental fillings are a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing the damaged part of the tooth and filling it with a material to restore its shape and function. However, few people know how dental fillings work or the signs they need them. For this reason, we will discuss the details in this article.

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are materials used to repair teeth damaged by decay or trauma. They are a standard dental procedure often used to restore the function and appearance of teeth affected by cavities or fractures.

The procedure for dental fillings involves removing the decayed or damaged part of the tooth and filling the area with the chosen material. The dentist will begin by numbing the area with a local anesthetic, then use a drill or laser to remove the decayed part of the tooth, shaping the area for the filling material. Once the area is prepared, the filling material is placed and shaped to match the natural contours of the tooth. The filling is then cured or hardened with a special light or chemical, and the tooth is polished to restore its natural appearance.

Dental fillings are a safe and effective treatment for restoring damaged teeth. They can help prevent further decay, improve oral health, and restore the function and appearance of teeth. However, you must maintain good oral hygiene habits to avoid future dental problems and prolong the lifespan of the filling. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are essential in maintaining oral health and preventing the need for further dental treatments.

The Different Types of Dental Fillings

There are several types of dental fillings, each with advantages and disadvantages. These include:

Composite Resin

Composite resin fillings are made of a mixture of plastic and glass. They are tooth-colored and can be matched to the color of the natural teeth, making them an aesthetically pleasing option. Composite resin fillings are also versatile and can be used to fill cavities, repair chips and cracks, and even change the shape of a tooth. However, composite resin fillings are less durable than others and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Silver Amalgam

Silver amalgam fillings are made of silver, tin, copper, and mercury. They are strong and durable and can last for many years. Silver amalgam fillings are also cost-effective and are often covered by dental insurance. However, they are less aesthetically pleasing than composite resin fillings and can darken over time.

Gold Alloy

Gold alloy fillings are made of gold, copper, and other metals, making them strong, durable, and long-lasting. Moreover, gold fillings are also biocompatible and do not irritate the gums or surrounding tissues. The only drawback they have is that they are much more expensive.


Porcelain fillings are made of ceramic material that can match the color of the natural teeth, making them an aesthetically pleasing option. Porcelain fillings are also durable and can last for many years. However, they are more expensive than other fillings and are less strong than gold or silver amalgam fillings.


Glass-ionomer fillings are made of a mixture of glass and acrylic acids. They are commonly used to fill cavities in children’s teeth or areas without much pressure from chewing. Glass-ionomer fillings are also beneficial because they release fluoride, which helps to prevent tooth decay. However, they are less strong than other filling materials and are more prone to breaking or chipping.

Signs You Need to Get Dental Fillings

If you think you need dental fillings, here are some signs to look for:


Cavities occur when there is decay in the tooth enamel. This decay can cause holes in the teeth that need to be filled with dental fillings, which prevent further decay and restore the tooth’s function.

Chipped Teeth

If you have a chipped tooth, it can expose the inner layers of the tooth to bacteria and decay. Dental fillings can fill the chipped area and protect the tooth from further damage.


While it may seem cosmetic, tooth discoloration can signify more serious dental problems. It could be caused by tooth decay, enamel erosion, or even medication side effects. Dental fillings can help by restoring the tooth’s natural color and protecting it from further damage.

Replacement for Existing Fillings

Over time, dental fillings can wear down or become damaged, leading to bacteria and decay. Replacing old or damaged fillings with new ones can help restore the tooth’s strength and prevent further damage. Naturally, newer filling materials are often stronger and more durable than older ones, providing better protection for the tooth.


Dental fillings are a simple and effective way to treat tooth decay and cavities and restore damaged teeth. There are several types of dental fillings to choose from, so it’s only a matter of consulting with your dentist to find the best one for your needs. This way, your teeth can be restored to normal function and appearance while protecting them from further damage and decay.

Family Dental of Westborough can help if you’re looking for dental fillings in Westborough, MA! We provide comprehensive dental care solutions to ensure your oral health is maintained in excellent condition. Call us today at (508) 366-7450 to schedule an appointment!

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