Cavity Fillings: What to Expect, Types & Potential Problems

Posted on: November 9, 2018

If you have been scheduled for cavity filling, know that the procedure is simple and direct. You should plan to be in the dentist’s office for about an hour. This will allow enough time for x-rays if necessary, and the dentist will take you through the process before starting.

Before cavity filling commences, the dentist will numb the teeth, gums, and nearby skin to reduce or prevent pain during the treatment. Afterward, the decay in the tooth will be excavated and substituted with a filling. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

Afterward, the numbness in your mouth will remain for a few hours. Cavity filling has no noteworthy risks but keep your dentist’s contact information close by so you can reach out in case of complications or issues.

Fillings are usually used to fill a cavity in the tooth. However, the dentist may recommend fillings to restore a tooth damaged by tooth grinding (bruxism) or make up parts of a fractured tooth.

Types of cavity fillings

There are several materials used for a tooth filling, each with varying strength, appearance, and proper usage. Below are the various options available:

Amalgam fillings

This material is one of the oldest and most commonly used. Amalgam fillings are durable and are suitable for filling cavities on chewing teeth such as the molars. Amalgam is made from a combination of different metals and is therefore conspicuous when you smile. However, they are one of the least expensive options available.

Composite fillings

Also called filled resins, this filling is made from a combination of glass or quartz filler and is designed to match the tooth’s color. They are somewhat durable and preferred for minor restorations, especially for the front row teeth.


Gold or silver amalgams are the most commonly used metals for fillings. Gold fillings are usually far more expensive than silver amalgam filling, but many people choose gold because it is more durable and appealing. The appearance of metal fillings is a drawback for many. However, they are highly durable and can last up to 15 years before a replacement is necessary.


This is typically made from porcelain and has a similar appearance to the teeth. The ceramic filling is not stained easily like composite fillings, but it is more expensive.

Glass ionomer

This filling is a mix of acrylic and glass and is designed to give off fluoride to strengthen the teeth. However, glass ionomer is not as sturdy as other types of fillings and may need replacement within five years.

Potential problems with cavity fillings


Sometimes, the filling may shift from the tooth to create a small gap. This gap may serve as the breeding ground for bacteria that may cause tooth decay.


The cavity filling may crack, break, or detach. These damages occur when you bite on hard substances or suffer injuries while playing sports.

What is the bottom line?

If you notice any issue with one of your fillings, you need to visit a dentist immediately to avoid further damage and risk of infections.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Sandefer Premier Dental, request an appointment in our Denham Springs office here: Or call us at (225) 663-1793.

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