Tooth Filling: What is it and what we need one?

One of the most common dental services is tooth filling (or dental fillings). They are used to treat tooth decay by filling cavities or missing tooth regions. Cavities can cause pain and sensitivity and worsen with time. A dental filling is a rapid and effective approach to repair a cavity.

In this post, we’ll explain what tooth filling is. We talk about the various fields related to dental filling and when you might need one.  

tooth filling

1. What is a tooth filling?

Dental fillings are used to replace missing tooth structures caused by decay or fracture. Cavities are caused by tooth decay in its early stages, which form microscopic holes in the enamel (surface layer) of the tooth. A dental fillings is used to heal the holes left by missing teeth and prevent future deterioration.

The longer you wait to treat dental decay, the worse it will become. If neglected for an extended period of time, it can lead to infection, costly dental treatment, and possibly tooth loss. 

2. What is temporary tooth filling?

tooth filling
Figure 1. What is temporary tooth filling? – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

You will ultimately require a permanent filling if your dentist advises you that you need one. But occasionally, your dentist could start by doing a temporary tooth filling. Your dentist will eventually remove this and replace it with a permanent filling.

Dental fillings that are temporary are different from permanent fillings in a few ways:

Durability: You should always schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist to have a temporary filling replaced with a permanent one since temporary fillings aren’t meant to last as long as permanent ones.

Appearance: Permanent fillings can be metallic; they are referred to as “amalgam” fillings and are usually selected based on how long they last—20–40 years, providing you take good care of your dental health! or almost the same color as your teeth (composite fillings).

In contrast, temporary dental fillings are made to stand out from your natural teeth, making it simple for your dentist to remove and replace them with permanent ones when the time comes.

Aftercare: You need to take extra care of temporary fillings since they are more brittle than permanent fillings (for example while cleaning and flossing your teeth).

You may receive a temporary filling from your dentist:

  • In case that your dentist is unable to offer you a permanent filling due to an urgent cavity.
  • As you undergo the creation of a dental crown.
  • To give the tooth time to heal or settle (for example, following a root canal) before placing a permanent filling.

3. When do we need a tooth filling? 

tooth filling
Figure 2. When do we need a tooth filling?  – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

You should see a dentist to see whether a filling can help if you have tooth decay and exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Tooth sensitivity to extreme heat or cold
  • A severe or throbbing discomfort in your teeth
  • You see a black patch or hole in your tooth.
  • It feels harsh on your teeth.
  • Food remains lodged in between or on top of teeth.

Usually, the dentist would numb the surrounding tissue around the tooth with a local anesthetic before removing the decaying portion using a tool.

The dentist will clean and fill the cavity after determining that all decay has been eliminated. The layers of filling material will be hardened with a mild cure, and any surplus will be filed away.

4. How many types of tooth filling?

There are several kinds of fillings, each constructed of a different material. They are discussed more below:

4.1. Amalgam Fillings (Metal Fillings)

tooth filling
Figure 3. Types of tooth filling – Amalgam Fillings

To form a long-lasting substance, amalgam fillings include silver, copper, tin, and mercury. It is a low-cost material that is both sturdy and simple to use. It is hardly used these days, owing mostly to its color. Amalgam fillings are a metallic grey color that does not blend in with your natural teeth. 

4.2. Composite Fillings

A finely powdered acrylic resin is used to create composite fillings. They are color-matched to your existing teeth to provide a seamless finish. Composite fillings are one of the most natural-looking alternatives, although they are not as strong as other materials. 

tooth filling
Figure 4. Types of tooth filling – Composite Fillings.

4.3. Porcelain Onlay/ Inlay 

Porcelain inlays and onlays are also used to fill teeth. To fill your tooth, they are first custom-made in a lab and then glued into place. Porcelain is stain-resistant and color-matched to your teeth.

These elements contribute to their popularity. However, they too can also be a more costly option.

tooth filling
Figure 5. Types of tooth filling – Porcelain inlay/ onlay.

5. What is tooth filling procedure?

Depending on where the filling is located and the materials utilized, the processes may change. However, the general actions are:

  • The gums are numbed using a numbing gel by the dentist. They next inject a topical anesthetic into the gums once this has taken effect.
  • Using a drill or other specialized tool, the dentist removes the tooth’s rotting section.
  • After that, they seal the tooth’s hole.
  • Finally, the filling is polished and may be adjusted to restore the natural feel of the patient’s bite.
  • The dentist must further “cure,” or harden, any composite filling material they employ using a certain type of light.

6. Five ways to care for a tooth after a tooth filling. 

Here are some pointers for proper aftercare following a tooth filling operation. Reviewing this material might help you get ready for your next dental filling operation.

tooth filling
Figure 6. Ways to care for a tooth after a tooth filling – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

6.1. Show compassion

It’s generally advised to handle wounds gently following dental fillings. The neighboring teeth may also experience the effects of the operation, and the affected tooth will be sensitive and uncomfortable. To ensure appropriate healing, patients should refrain from contacting the affected tooth or region for about one day.

6.2. Steer clear of chewy, sticky foods.

tooth filling
Figure 7. What you should eat after tooth filling? – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

Eating right after a dental filling operation might be challenging. Sensitivity or soreness in the teeth is quite typical. To prevent any further discomfort following the surgery, general dentists advise against eating anything sticky or hard afterward. Foods like hard nuts, caramels, jerky, rough meats, and sweets might harm a tooth that has just been filled. It is recommended to avoid hard foods for a day or two following the treatment, such as yogurt, pudding, eggs, and smoothies.

6.3. Repeat a few rinses.

tooth filling
Figure 8. Ways to care for teeth after filling – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

It is recommended that patients clean their mouths following a dental filling operation. It might be painful if there is food from eating or trash left behind.

A mild mouthwash free of alcohol or salt water rinses can assist to keep the mouth clean for a few days following dental fillings. It can also lessen the usual side effect of foul breath that may have resulted from the dental filling process.

6.4. Utilize an anti-inflammatory drug

It is very natural for some people to feel some mild discomfort following a dental filling operation. Patients can treat discomfort or soreness with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications in the meantime, since these symptoms often go away in a day or two. This will assist to ease discomfort in the mouth and lessen swelling.

6.5. Floss and brush

tooth filling
Figure 9. Brush your teeth gently after tooth filling – Sydney Dental Vietnam.

After having a tooth filling, many individuals are reluctant to brush and floss, but you must do it before the night is out. Brushing and flossing must be done carefully even if the tooth is hurting. To minimize pain, general dentists advise using a toothbrush with extremely soft bristles.

7. How much does a tooth filling cost?

A dental filling might cost anything from $80 to $150. For further information, see our price guide here. The intricacy of the treatment and the type of material used to fill the tooth determine how much the filling will cost.

8. Conclusion

veneers 101
Figure 10. Team of doctors at Sydney Dental Vietnam.

In conclusion, there are a lot of variables to take into account while choosing tooth filling.

Making a thoughtful and well-informed choice on this crucial subject can be difficult, given the variety of filling material available and the expenses of the various treatment choices.

With any luck, this post has improved your knowledge about dental fillings and the various theories that support them.

At Sydney Dental Vietnam, we consistently advocate for our patients’ best interests and meet their specific needs. Do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with us if you are unsure if you need a filling.


Address: Villa no.21, Riverview 6, Vinhomes Golden River, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam.

Hotline: (+84) 90 271 42 53



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