A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When you receive a filling, your dentist first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin, and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Various options like laser-free and anaesthesia-free fillings are available if needed.
Only your dentist can tell you whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled or not. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth.