Dental filling

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

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What is dental fillings?

If a part of your tooth is lost due to any injury or decay, the part should be replaced at the earliest.  Your dentist will fill your teeth with an appropriate material to regain their function and appearance and to prevent further damage

When does anyone need a dental filling?

Dentist preparing tooth for dental filling

 A dental filling is needed mainly in two conditions: One is when a person’s tooth gets decayed due to bacterial growth. Second is when it gets injured due to a fall/sharp blow to the face, accident, or by biting into any hard object. Dental filling can also be done for aesthetic purposes,  like when you have gaps in between teeth that don’t look good, or when you need to change the shape of your tooth due to some reason.

What is the procedure of dental filling?

Firstly, we will discuss the case of a decayed tooth. If you go to the dentist to fill a decayed tooth,  he/she will first examine your tooth and take an x-ray image (only if necessary) to check the depth of the decay. Then they will drill your tooth to remove the decayed part and then will fill it with appropriate material and shape it to match your natural tooth’s contour. If you need to fill an injured tooth, your dentist may take an x-ray image and then slightly shape the edges of the teeth, if necessary and fill it.  If your filling is for aesthetic purposes,  the teeth will be slightly shaped (if needed) and filled.

 What if we don’t get a dental filling done on time?

Decayed tooth should be filled on time.  Otherwise, the decay may penetrate into the deeper layers of your tooth, leading to pain and infection.  An injured or broken tooth should be filled soon as it may have sharp edges which can injure your tongue, cheek, or lips. 

What are the types of dental fillings?

There are several types of dental fillings: gold, tooth coloured and silver/grey coloured. They have different properties and doctors determine the type of filling required for your tooth based on the problem of your tooth and aesthetic considerations. Tooth-coloured fillings are used in most cases now.

Post-treatment care for dental filling

  • Do not eat anything hard with the treated tooth for at least 1-2 hours, as most of the fillings need time to set. 
  • If your tooth was anesthetized before filling, take care not to eat anything hot or bite on your cheeks to check whether numbness has gone, at least for 2 hours as it may injure your mouth.
  • Look for any irritation, pain, or swelling near that tooth for the next few days. If it’s present, visit your dentist to get it treated.
  • If you feel that only that tooth is touching the opposing tooth and that other teeth are not in proper bite, or if you have pain on that tooth on chewing or pain on that side,  visit your dentist to correct the slight excess height of your filling.
  • If tooth-coloured filling is used, always wash your mouth after drinking coloured beverages like tea, coffee, or coloured aerated drinks, as it may stain your filling, causing it to change colour.
  • Don’t bite on very hard foods or other objects with that tooth as your restoration may dislodge or break.


  • Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, are the last tooth to erupt in the mouth, and the removal of this tooth is known as a wisdom tooth extraction.
  • The majority of the time, getting your wisdom teeth out is a safe and efficient strategy to avoid future issues and keep your mouth healthy.
  • It’s crucial to talk about your choices with your dentist if you are feeling pain or discomfort near your wisdom teeth or if he or she has advised removal.
  • Because the patient will experience pain and discomfort, infection, abscess, cysts, and damage to the surrounding area, it is recommended that the wisdom tooth be extracted.

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FAQs on dental filling

Is dental filling necessary if there is no pain?

Yes. Prevention is always better than cure. You can avoid future pain and infection if you treat at an early stage.

Is getting a dental filling painful?

No. You may feel sensitivity, but not pain. Even if the decay/fracture is deep and you say to your dentist that you feel pain, your tooth will be anesthetized with an injection and hence there will be no pain further.

Is dental filling treatment costly?

It depends on the type and amount of filling material needed as well as the expertise of your dentist. It usually ranges from a few hundred Rupees to a few thousand and an estimated cost can be said only after the dentist examines your tooth. 

How long do dental filling last?

Fillings can last a few years and even up to a lifetime, depending on the material used and how well you care them . The life of your filling decreases with biting hard objects.

Will people know that you have a dental filling?

If a tooth-coloured material is used by an experienced dentist, no one will even know the difference between the natural part of your tooth and filling.

Can my tooth get damaged even after it is filled?

Yes. There are cases where an already filled tooth develops decay under the filling after a long time. In such cases, you may know it only when pain arise, as the filling masks it. Your dentist will take an X-ray image of your tooth to determine the depth of decay. The filling will be removed and new filling can be placed.

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