HomeDental CareDental Fillings or Tooth Fillings

Dental Fillings or Tooth Fillings

Filling means to fill the gap, dentist used various material combined including metal, glass, plastic, resin, and much more to fill the part of a tooth which they removed due to caries or decay. Dental fillings are also used in cases of broken teeth or cracked teeth, in case of cervical abfractions.

Types of dental fillings

Mostly, there are two types of filing is there;

  • Direct Filling/Restoration
  • Indirect filling /Restoration


Direct Restoration done with (1) Silver filling, (2) Cast gold filling, (3) Glass ionomer filling, and (4) Composite Resin filling.

1. Silver filling

Also known as amalgam filling.

Pros :

  • It has high strength against chewing force.
  • It has greatest durability among all dental filling material.
  • It may be less expensive than others.

Cons :

  • Silver filling is unesthetic as it doesn’t match the tooth color.
  • While preparing cavity, removes healthy tooth structure also, to make a enough space for mechanical bond of amalgam.
  • Amalgam filling sometime create a greyish hue surrounding tooth structure.
  • In some people, there is allergic reaction of amalgam restoration due to mercury present in the amalgam.

2. Cast gold filling

Pros :

  • Cast gold filling has greatest strength and durability as compare to other dental filling material.
  • In some areas, gold filling is highly demanding due to eye pleasing as compare to Silver amalgam.

Cons :

  • Cast gold filling is 10 times more costlier than other dental filling materials.
  • Requires multiple visits to dentist.
  • In galvanism, when a cast gold filling is placed on the opposite tooth or near the tooth, it will cause a sharp pain due to the interaction between saliva and metals which cause electric current-like pain.
  • Majority of patients dislike coloured restoration , they prefer tooth coloured material as compare to another.

3. Glass ionomer cement

Pros :

  • Glass ionomer cement is usually made up of specific acrylic and glass.
  • Glass ionomer cement is frequently used in larger cavities, below the gingival margin, and fillings in young children.
  • Glass ionomer cement has the property to release fluoride, which protects the tooth from further decay and also helps to remineralization of affected dentin.
  • Newest generation of Glass ionomer cement has the longest durability and strength when placed in appropriate areas as compared to composite.

Cons :

  • Glass ionomer cement has a shorter durability as compared to amalgam and composite restorative material.
  • It has a weaker strength compared to other restorative materials, so prone to quick wear and tear.
  • Glass ionomer doesn’t have shade options so it’s not perfectly tooth-coloured restorative material as compared to other tooth-coloured restorative material.

4. Composite

Composite is a tooth coloured, highly aesthetic filling material.

Pros :

  • Composite filling material requires minimal tooth preparation, as the decayed parts of a tooth should be removed as compared to amalgam, it requires larger cavity preparation for a mechanical bond.
  • Composite filling micromechanically bond to the tooth surface, provide greatest retention.
  • The composite filling material is a more versatile material, it can be used to repair, chipped, broken, or fractured teeth.
  • Composite material is available in various shades to be closely matched with the shade of existing teeth.
  • Highly recommend in anterior tooth or visible portions of the tooth.

Cons :

  • Composite filling material does not last as long as Silver Amalgam, if it was used in larger cavities.
  • It wear out or discoloured after such a Period of time.

Which dental filling material is suited for my tooth decay ??

Don’t worry! It will be suggested by your dentist will recommend you, based on your tooth decay, extent of cavities, and location of the tooth.


Indirect restoration is the same as tooth-coloured restoration like composite except it is constructed in dental laboratories so it requires more than two appointments.

In the first appointment, cavity preparation getting done and an impression is taken and sent to the laboratory. A temporary restoration can be placed until restoration is made.

In the second appointment, the temporary filling is removed, and check the permanent restoration, if it fits accurately, it fits permanently with dental cement.

There is two types of indirect restorations, (A) Inlay and (B) Onlay.

(A) Inlay : It’s similar to filling but entire work limits within cusps or chewing surface.

(B) Onlay : Onlays also known as partial crown because it requires more coverage thsurfacesys.

Both are more durable and longer lasting as compare to other traditional filling material.

Another type of direct inlay and direct Onlay also available. It completes in first appointment only. The difference is it made in dental office only so we can place in same time.

Frequently asked questions

Q1. Why require indirect restoration?

Answer : It is considered when direct filling is not possible due to more tooth structure loss and don’t enough tooth structure to support or strength, we can go for indirect restoration.

Q2. What is temporary restoration?

Answer : When permanent restoration can’t be placed in first appointment, temporary restoration used . It has lesser strength compare to permanent so it easily removed, broken or wear out.

Q3. What are the uses of temporary restoration?

Answer : Once a cavity preparation done and go for indirect restoration, after root canal treatment, allow your nerves to settle down we can use temporary restorative material.

Q4. How should we care dental filling once it getting done?

Answer : Maintain good oral hygiene by Brushing with ultra-soft bristles toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste Do floss once a day, if possible use a water flosser Keep your dental visit regularly twice a year.

Q5. How to I know dental filling need to be replaced

Answer : When you feel extreme sensitive toothYou feel a sharp edgeOnce you notice crack in a filling or piece of filling is missing Filling fails and decay develops Visit your dentist, getting regular check up done.

Q6. Is it toothache possible after getting dental filling

Answer : Yes, there is many different reasons for pain after dental fillings,

  • If there is some high points in restoration, reshaped the filling.
  • If two opposite materials are getting in touch as silver amalgam restoration is already has done and the new one is gold or composite, two dissimilar metals create pain. It will be normal within a shorter period.
  • If decay is very deep and very near to the pulp means the surrounding tissues are not healthy, root canal treatment is needed.

Q7. Are Silver amalgam fillings safe?

Answer : In some patients, it is not safe like patients with impaired kidney functions, patients who are planning to become pregnant, people with allergies to mercury, and children below 6 yrs of age.

The FDA doesn’t recommend removing dental amalgam if amalgam in good condition due to increase risk of mercy Vapor and result in more risks then benefits.

Dr. Jagruti Godhwani, BDS
Dr. Jagruti Godhwani, BDS
Dr. Jagruti Godhwani is a general dental practitioner in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She works in private practice, specializing in general dentistry, restorative dentistry, full mouth rehabilitation, and surgical treatment. She's attended various conferences and continuously upgrades her skills in digital dentistry by participating in workshops and seminars




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Disclaimer : All the information on the page is for educational purposes only to make you aware, you can’t take it as a substitute for medical advice. If you are facing any health issues it is advised to take direct Medical help from medical professionals immediately.