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Dental Fillings: An In-depth Guide to What They Are and the Types Available

Dental Fillings: An In-depth Guide to What They Are and the Types Available

November 14, 2021

Do you experience a jolt of pain whenever you eat or drink cold or hot stuff? Or does your tooth hurt whenever you chew food? If so, the odds are that you have cavities. Cavities are a common problem and are a leading cause of tooth loss in the country. But with modern dentistry, our dentist in Zebulon, GA, can salvage your tooth by using permanent fillings.

If cavities aren’t caught early, you might end up spending more time and money to restore your smile. Tooth loss is inevitable when dental fillings are not used to repair the decayed teeth.

Dental Fillings Overview

When you enjoy your favorite meal, food debris may get stuck between your teeth and on your tooth’s grooves. The bacteria in your mouth will swarm to those areas to eat the food particles, especially if the food has high sugar content.

The bacteria release acids that digest the sugar; however, these acids erode the teeth, causing holes or cavities.

This is where dental fillings come in handy. Tooth fillings are the best solution for cavities since they fill up the cavity, repair a chipped or broken tooth. Plus, our dentist in Zebulon, GA, can use tooth fillings to repair teeth that are worn out because of bruxism and nail-biting.

Fillings for teeth are made from different materials. The type you select will depend on your preference, aesthetic appearance, the position of the affected tooth, and the quality of the filling material.

How Are Fillings Inserted?

As the procedure commences, our dentist will administer local anesthesia to ensure that the area is numb so that the process can be painless. When the anesthesia kicks in, our dentist will remove the cavities.

After removing the cavities, our dentist will remove debris and bacteria before placing the filling of your choice to cover the cavity.

However, if the decay was near your tooth root, our dentist will place a liner before filling the cavity.

If you decide to go for tooth-colored fillings, the procedure might be slightly different. Our dentist will place a layer of tooth-colored fillings, then cure it under a special light. This is repeated for each subsequent layer until the cavity is filled.

The surplus material will be removed, and then the tooth will be shaped and polished.

Different Types of Fillings

As mentioned before, fillings are created from different materials to ensure that each patient’s needs are met. Let’s look at the different types of dental fillings:

Amalgam (Silver) Fillings

Silver fillings have been around for decades. They are made from silver and other materials. Their most valuable trait is their durability. Here are the pros and cons of silver fillings:


  • They are sturdy and can withstand the chewing force
  • They last over a decade
  • They are less expensive than composite fillings


  • They have poor aesthetics since they don’t match your teeth’s color
  • They discolor the teeth
  • They destroy more of the tooth structure since they expand and contract when you eat or drink hot or cold stuff

Gold Fillings

These fillings are fashioned from a mixture of copper, chromium, nickel, and other materials. They are also known for their strength. Here are the pros and cons:


  • They can withstand the chewing force
  • They can last for over 15 years
  • Some patients may find it pleasing to the eye


  • They are among the most expensive fillings
  • They are not aesthetically pleasing according to most patients since they aren’t tooth-colored
  • There may be more additional visits for you to get the filling

Composite-Resin Fillings

These fillings are fashioned from tooth-colored plastic. They are relatively inexpensive as compared to the other fillings. Some of the pros and cons are:


  • They have good aesthetics since they match the color of your existing teeth.
  • They micro-mechanically bond to your tooth structure, providing more support for the tooth
  • They need less space; therefore, less of the tooth will be filed to create space for it


  • They will not serve you as long as the other fillings and can last for at least five years
  • They tend to chip off the tooth
  • They are not stain resistant

Porcelain or Ceramic Fillings

Porcelain fillings are known for their excellent aesthetic appeal. As the name suggests, these fillings are made from porcelain or ceramic. Here are the pros and cons:


  • They have excellent aesthetics
  • They are stain-resistant
  • They are durable since they can last up to 15 years


  • They are expensive and cost as much as gold fillings
  • They need more space to fit; therefore, more of the tooth has to be removed
  • You might experience increased tooth sensitivity after the procedure

Dental cavities will not destroy your teeth in a day. It may take months and even several years before there is significant damage. Either way, getting permanent fillings can help salvage your tooth.

Contact our dentist in Zebulon, GA, at Palmetto Family Dental to schedule an appointment.