If a tooth is damaged by decay, it can be restored back to its normal function and shape with a filing. Closing off the spaces where bacteria can enter the tooth prevents further decay.

Before removing the decayed part of the tooth, you will receive an injection to numb the area around the tooth being worked on.

After the area is prepped, the filling is applied. The type of material used for the filling will be determined by you and your dentist. The right material for you will depend on how extensive the repair will be, any allergies you may have, and the cost. The choices you have include:

  • Composite resins: Composites can be made to match the color of your existing teeth. This can sometimes also be used for broken, chipped, or worn teeth, and, in some cases, a smaller amount of tooth needs to be removed to apply this kind of resin.

  • Silver amalgam: These last at least 10 to 15 years, are strong enough to withstand chewing forces, and will probable be less expensive than composite fillings.

  • Gold: Some patients like the gold color better than silver. These are stronger and also last 10 to 15 years, but they are also the most expensive material.

  • Porcelain: The cost of porcelain is similar to gold, but porcelain fillings are called onlays or inlays. These are produced in a lab and then bonded to your tooth. They resist staining and are made to match the color of your existing teeth.