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Dental fillings

  • Article
  • 2021-03-02

A filling is used to treat a small hole or hole in a tooth. To repair a cavity, a dentist removes decayed dental tissue and then fills the space with filling material.


Tooth decay is damage to a tooth that can occur when harmful bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack tooth enamel. This can lead to a small hole in a tooth called a cavity. More severe decay can cause a large hole or even destruction of the entire tooth. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection and even loss of teeth.

When a tooth is exposed to acid frequently, such as when you eat or drink frequently, especially foods or drinks that contain sugar and starch, the repeated cycles of acid attacks keep the enamel from losing minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decline.

Tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources. But as the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, creating a cavity.


There are currently several types of filler available to repair cavities, including tooth-colored (composite) fillings and silver-colored (amalgam) fillings. Composite resin materials are increasingly used to fill teeth because many people prefer tooth-colored fillings and as composites keep getting better.

There are also treatments called crowns that are used to restore severely broken teeth. Crowns can be made of gold or other metals, porcelain or stainless steel (usually used on baby teeth). In general, dental fillings and crowns do not last a lifetime.

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