Understanding How Fillings Work and Why They Are Important

Dental fillings are associated with cavities. No one likes cavities, which means there may be some negative feelings toward fillings as well. Many people are worried that getting a filling will be complicated and painful. They believe that because the problem fillings treat is uncomfortable, the treatment must also be. Thankfully, that is not typically the case. Fillings are useful tools, and once you understand them, they will not seem so daunting.


Most people will experience at least one cavity in their lifetime, typically during adolescence. A cavity is a hole in a tooth due to remnants of tooth decay. Unfortunately, even when a cavity has formed, bacteria are still present that can cause further deterioration. To prevent further dental issues, a dentist will remove the remaining bacteria, typically by drilling into the tooth, and then place a filling to prevent further rot. The filling, then, protects the remaining tooth structure.


While many people assume that inserting the filling must be painful, that is not usually the case. Before doing anything to your affected teeth, a dentist will first numb the area with a local anesthetic. After the area is numb, he or she will use a dental drill to remove the decay. Then, they will clean and prepare the tooth. Finally, depending on the type of filling you are getting, the dentist will insert the filling with a method specific to that type.


A dental filling is typically made from one of two types of materials: composite resin or amalgam. Composite resin fillings are the most common and preferred because the material can be colored to match the teeth. This material usually lasts 15 years with good dental habits. Amalgam fillings are likely the traditional fillings you imagine. They are made of several metals, they last a long time, and are typically more affordable.


When bacteria leads to tooth decay and ultimately forms a cavity, the hole in your tooth is the least of your worries. Without treatment, the area can become painful, infected, and may result in further tooth loss. If a dentist removes the decay but leaves the hole behind, there is still an increased risk of further infection and deterioration. While the pain of a cavity may not bother you, if left untreated, a cavity can lead to serious health issues, which is why treatment is crucial.

Fillings are a favorable treatment option. They help to protect the remaining tooth from further infection and decay. If you think you have a cavity, then contact a local dentist, like a Cary, NC dentist, and schedule an appointment.

Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into how fillings work and why they are important for the health of your teeth.