Check it out! Dental Fillings Types, Benefits, and Maintenance

Dental fillings are a common and essential restorative dentistry procedure designed to restore damaged or decayed teeth. Whether due to cavities, trauma, or wear and tear, teeth fillings play a crucial role in maintaining oral health.  At Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX, we offer numerous restorative treatments to repair your smile and maintain your […]

Dental fillings are a common and essential restorative dentistry procedure designed to restore damaged or decayed teeth. Whether due to cavities, trauma, or wear and tear, teeth fillings play a crucial role in maintaining oral health. 

At Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX, we offer numerous restorative treatments to repair your smile and maintain your oral health. If you’d like to explore reparative procedures with a trusted Lakewood dentist, contact Drs. Shaun Sigurdson and Mihir Patel today. You can reach our team at (214) 827-1885 for more information and appointment scheduling.

In today’s blog post, we provide you with a simple yet complete guide to dental fillings. Here, we delve into what dental fillings are, why patients might need them, their cosmetic and restorative benefits, the different types available, their durability, cost considerations, and practical tips for prolonging their lifespan.

What are dental fillings?

Dental fillings are dental restorations, meaning they consist of durable materials that dentists use to restore damaged teeth

Typically, dentists use these restorations to address tooth decay, dental injuries, and worn tooth enamel. However, modern, tooth-colored fillings may be an ideal way to address cosmetic concerns through a process called dental bonding. 

Nevertheless, the primary goal of fillings is to restore the tooth’s normal function, shape, and integrity while preventing further decay or damage. 

Why might a patient need dental fillings?

There are several reasons why a patient might require dental fillings, including:


One of the most common reasons patients may need tooth fillings is to treat or prevent cavities

Cavities start out as weak spots in tooth enamel. If left unaddressed, these spots can become hotspots for bacteria and food debris, leading to dental decay. Without proper treatment, dental decay can lead to root canal infections and even tooth loss.

Fractured or Cracked Teeth

Trauma, accidents, or excessive wear and tear put a lot of stress on teeth. This stress can lead to fractures or cracks that penetrate teeth, leaving them vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Fillings help to restore the structural integrity of the tooth by patching fractures and cracks. This helps prevent further breakage and dental infections

Worn Down Teeth 

Teeth are remarkably strong, but they can still wear down over time. Certain factors can degrade teeth rapidly, such as teeth grinding (bruxism) or misaligned bites

Teeth fillings protect and strengthen weak teeth by building up worn surfaces and fortifying the overall dental structure. 

Cosmetic Enhancements 

Fillings are not only functional but can also serve many cosmetic purposes. Indeed, dentists can use this incredibly versatile treatment to reshape or color-match teeth, improving overall aesthetics.

Cosmetic and Restorative Benefits of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings offer a range of cosmetic and restorative benefits, making them a versatile solution for various dental issues, including:

Restoration of Tooth Structure 

Fillings effectively restore the natural shape and structure of injured and weak teeth. This allows teeth to function better while biting and chewing.

Prevention of Further Decay

By sealing off cavities or damaged areas, dental fillings prevent the progression of decay and protect the tooth from additional damage.

Cosmetic Improvement

Tooth-colored fillings (which dentists usually make from materials like composite resin or porcelain) provide a natural finish, blending seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.

Improved Bite and Alignment

Patients can pursue fillings to build up teeth that have been worn down. This helps improve their bites and addresses issues related to misalignments.

Types of Dental Fillings

Several types of dental fillings are available, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Let’s explore the different types of materials dentists can use to repair teeth now:

Amalgam Fillings

These are the traditional silver-colored fillings of yesteryear. Dentists create them from a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. While mercury is a known neurotoxin, these fillings are generally safe for most patients.

Amalgam fillings are durable and cost-effective. However, they are more noticeable and may not be ideal for highly visible teeth.

Composite Fillings

Made from a white resin material, composite fillings fuse seamlessly with natural teeth, offering a more aesthetically pleasing option. They are suitable for front and back teeth and provide good durability.

Ceramic Fillings (Inlays/Onlays) 

Ceramic fillings (sometimes called inlays or onlays) are custom-made restorations that dental professionals fabricate in a laboratory. They offer excellent aesthetics and durability, making them suitable for visible areas.

Glass Ionomer Fillings 

These types of fillings are a mixture of glass and an organic acid. While they are not as durable as amalgam or composite fillings, they release fluoride, offering added protection against decay.

How long do dental fillings last?

Several factors can influence the lifespan of dental fillings, including the type of filling, oral hygiene practices, and individual habits. Let’s take a look at how long these restorations last, on average:

  • Amalgam Fillings: These can last 10 to 15 years or longer with proper care.
  • Composite Fillings: The lifespan is typically five to 10 years, but advancements in materials continue to improve their durability.
  • Ceramic Fillings: Inlays and onlays made from ceramic materials can last 10 to 15 years or more.
  • Glass Ionomer Fillings: These are less durable and may need replacement every five years.

Cost Considerations

The cost of dental fillings varies based on factors such as:

  • The type of filling selected
  • The location of the treated tooth
  • The dentist’s geographic location and expertise

Generally, composite and ceramic fillings tend to be more expensive than amalgam fillings. While amalgam fillings are more affordable, many patients prefer the aesthetic appeal and potential health benefits of tooth-colored alternatives.

Tips for Prolonging the Lifespan of Dental Fillings

Ensuring the lifespan of a dental filling involves adopting good oral hygiene practices and making informed lifestyle choices, such as:

Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene 

Brush your teeth twice every day, preferably once in the morning and once before bedtime. Floss regularly and use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Attend Regular Dental Check-ups 

Regular dental visits allow your dental team to monitor the condition of your fillings and identify any issues early on.

Avoid Excessive Force 

Some behaviors and habits are detrimental to fillings, such as:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Biting on hard objects, such as pens, ice, or fingernails
  • Engaging in high-contact sports without a mouthguard

Limit Sugar Intake 

A diet high in carbohydrates (especially sugar) contributes to tooth decay and faulty fillings. Minimize sugary foods and beverages to maintain optimal oral health.

Quit Smoking 

Smoking not only stains teeth but also increases the risk of dental problems, including tooth-destroying gum disease and potentially life-threatening oral cancer. 

Long-Lasting Dental Fillings in Dallas, TX

Dental fillings are a crucial component of modern dentistry, providing both functional and cosmetic benefits. Whether you’re considering dental fillings for restorative purposes or aesthetic enhancements, consulting with the team at Lakewood Dental Group is key. Schedule a consultation with our Dallas dentists online or at (214) 827-1885.

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