The Scoop: Cavity Fillings



Cavities are without a doubt, an unpleasant experience. They are painful, and will only continue to cause suffering if left untreated. Fortunately, due to the advancement of technology, cavities are not as much of a problem as they used to be. The invention of cavity fillings means that even after a cavity, a tooth is not lost forever. Cavity fillings are used to fill the gaps in a tooth created by a cavity to prevent further damage to the bone. They can be made of a different material, namely resin, and metal, and each is with their own unique perks.

The Importance:

Cavity fillings are essential to ensuring a tooth’s future health after a cavity. If the decay is not cleaned out, it can easily spread and infect the rest of the mouth. Even after the bacteria and rotting material characteristic of a cavity is cleared, the fact that there is a hole means that the tooth is susceptible to future cavities.

Cavity fillings work to prevent this by closing the gap, which blocks any possible bacteria from entering.
Also, a cavity filling protects the nerves and other sensitive parts of a tooth that have been exposed because of a cavity. Also to consider is the fact that the space left behind by a cavity increases the odds of a tooth chipping or cracking, which is further reason to get a filling after a cavity. Cavity fillings restore the functionality of teeth rendered useless by decay.

The Process:

A cavity filling is generally called for when one’s tooth has decayed to a significant degree because the decaying material must be removed, thus leaving a hole to be filled. This can be determined by a dentist. After making the diagnosis and confirming the date of operation, a dentist will start the procedure by numbing a patient’s mouth to minimize any discomfort that might be felt. Then, they will begin to drill away the decay.

After it’s removed, the tooth will be cleaned and then depending on how much had to be drilled, the tooth will have to be prepped in order to be fit for a filling.
To protect a tooth’s nerve in the case that much had to be drilled away, a liner made of glass ionomer, a material that releases fluoride which protects teeth, may be placed. The time it takes for the filling itself to be completed varies due to the different materials, but once a tooth has been filled, the dentist in question will typically finish it by ensuring it fits the tooth’s shape and polishing it.

The Types:

As of now, cavity fillings can be made of gold, silver amalgam, composite resin, and in certain cases glass ionomer. Each presents its own advantages that make it desirable to customers.


Gold is an option that is attractive to many because of its aesthetic value and because a gold cavity filling can convey a message of wealth. It is also extremely durable, able to withstand the forces of chewing, and they typically last for over a decade.

Silver Amalgam

Silver amalgam is not actually pure silver. It’s a mix of the metals mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper. As it is also a metal, cavity fillings made of this substance are strong and long-lasting. An important factor to consider when choosing a type of cavity filling is its price. Silver amalgam is one of the less expensive options, which makes it ideal for those on a budget. This is likely due to its composition and the fact that it is relatively easy to place compared to the other types.

Composite Resin

Composite resin is the material to go to for those wanting as little change to their appearance as possible. This material is tooth colour and known for its natural appearance. This substance of quartz or glass filler is often applied in the form of a paste, and as it is drying, it binds itself to the tooth, thus providing even more support.

Glass Ionomer

This variance of cavity filling is not as commonly found as the rest. It is a blend of acrylic and glass and it releases fluoride in order to help protect teeth from decaying any further. As mentioned before, glass ionomer can also be used to protect a tooth’s nerves if the dentist has to drill deep into the tooth.

The Aftercare:

It is important to take good care of one’s cavity fillings in order to maximize their lifespan. At this time, a good oral care routine is crucial, and one should be open to considering using products targeted toward sensitive teeth. Good oral hygiene also consists of regular visits to one’s dentist to that they can check on the condition of the filling. Cavity fillings can be replaced if need be, so one does not need to be overly concerned if by chance they are damaged.


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