What is a filling?

Fillings are materials used to replace missing tooth structure, often caused by cavities. There are many different types and each is used for specific reasons. The most common filling materials include, amalgam (silver filling), composite (tooth coloured filling), gold and porcelain.



Your dentist will often recognise that you need a filling before you experience pain, but you may need a filling if you notice you have symptoms such as:

  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugary foods.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • General dental pain.
  • Dark spot visible on a tooth.
  • Getting food being stuck in certain spots in your mouth.
  • Rough, broken, chipped, or fractured tooth.
  • Filling that has already fallen out.

Common causes & prevention

  • Poor oral hygiene:  Not brushing regularly allows plaque to build up and damage the tooth enamel. Brush regularly to prevent cavities.
  • Plaque Formation:  Plaque is caused when bacteria, acid, food particles, and saliva all combine in your mouth. The acid in plaque attacks the enamel of your tooth and eventually can cause holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.
  • Dry Mouth:  Saliva and water helps to wash plaque from the teeth. If you have a dry mouth with very little saliva, plaque may build up more quickly.
  • Medical Problems:  Some medical issues can contribute to a tooth cavity by causing acid from your stomach to flow back into your mouth. Similarly, bulimia increases the risk of a tooth cavity when the teeth are exposed to stomach acid during frequent vomiting. In addition, some types of cancer treatment that expose the head and neck to radiation.


Getting a filling is a very common dental treatment, and is no cause for major concern. Your dentist will usually use a local anaesthetic to numb your gums and parts of your mouth. A local anaesthetic only numbs the area being treated, which means you’ll still be awake during the procedure and able to interact with your dentist.The dentist will then fill the cavity and you should be good to go.

If you are concerned about having a cavity, you can get a Toothpic online dental consult now and one of our online dentists will review images of your teeth and share a detailed report on any issues, homecare and next steps you may need.

Connect to an online dentist now in 3 easy steps

STEP 1: Brief assessment

Answer a few questions on your oral health

STEP 2: Show the online dentist

Share images of your teeth and mouth

STEP 3: Complete Consult

Begin your journey to a happier, healthier you!

Show off those pearly whites

Get an online dental consult today


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