Everything you need to know about getting a filling

84% of adults in the UK have at least one filling, making it one of the commonest dental treatments available. If you're yet to have one, here's everything you need to know about getting a filling.


Fillings are generally made of any one of five materials, which your dentist should advise you on:


Amalgam fillings are silver in colour, comprising a mixture of metals such as silver, copper, tin and mercury. Amalgam fillings are strong, durable and inexpensive, making them one of the most common. However, some people don't like the appearance of silver fillings, so prefer to choose something a bit more expensive to get a more natural look.


Composite fillings are made of a tooth-coloured mixture of glass and resin that can match the colour of your teeth. However, they're not as durable as metal, so may need replacing more often.


Ceramic fillings are made of porcelain, and give a natural look. They're more durable than composite, but are usually more expensive.


Gold is very hard wearing, but as you might expect, comes at a much higher cost. It also doesn't look natural, but you might like the look of gold in your teeth.

Glass ionomer

Glass ionomers are a mixture of glass and acrylic that release fluoride over time. They can be useful for low-stress areas like front teeth or roots, and are often used for childern as a short-term solution for baby teeth.

The procedure

The procedure is quick and usually painless. First your dentist will apply some local anaesthetic. Once the area is numb she will remove the decayed tissue from the cavity, usually with air abrasion, but if the cavity is particularly deep a dental drill will be required.

Having cleared out the decayed tissue and any debris, the dentist will put the filling in place. A quick clean and polish and you're done.

After the treatment

Your lips and gum area may remain numb for a few hours after the treatment, so be careful when chewing food.

 You may feel some sensitivity or pain in the tooth – and the surrounding teeth (this is known as “referred pain” where the nerves in the filled tooth send signals to the adjacent teeth) – for a week or two. This is normal. If it lasts for longer than a few weeks, go back to your dentist. Similarly, if you feel pain when biting you may need the filling re-shaped.

 And that's it. All that's left is to take care of your filled tooth the same as any other, and go back for regular check-ups in case your filling starts to wear down and needs to be replaced.




About the author

Barry Tibbott

barry tibbot dental implants

Brunswick Court Dental Practice was established in 1986 as a private practice where Barry is the clinical director.

Involved in implants for many years, Barry has completed a Masters Degree in Implantology at Warwick University where he gained a distinction. He is currently a clinical lecturer to postgraduate MSc students at Warwick University, in addition to mentoring local dentists in this field.

Barry is a member and Implant Mentor for The Association of Dental Implantology and a fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine. He is also a Consultant Member of the British Society of Oral Implantology. You can find him on

Dentists Opening Hours:

Monday/Tuesday: 8:00 - 19:00

Wednesday: 8:30 - 17:30

Thursday: 8:00 - 19:00

Friday: 8:00 - 17:00

Saturday by request.


14 Brunswick Place
Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1NA

[email protected]

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