Tooth Filling Treatment

Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in our bodies but, as anyone who’s ever had to have a filling will know, it is also susceptible to decay. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth called plaque which, when combined with the sorts of sugars we find in everything from soft drinks to sweets, creates a corrosive acid.

Unless it’s removed by regular and efficient brushing, over time this acid eats away at the enamel, and cavities are created.

Initially, these are impossible to feel or detect – unless you’re a dentist and know which warning signs to look out for. So it’s often only when we start feeling actual pain in the form of toothache that we know that there’s a cavity in a tooth.

Depending on how severe the cavity is, the dentist may decide that the tooth needs to be drilled to remove the decay and filled with an artificial substance to replace the decayed area. This will also protect the tooth from any more damage.

Natural protection

There are enzymes in our saliva that are designed to protect our teeth from this acid attack but these can take up to two hours to break down the acid. This gives it plenty of time to get to work on eating through the enamel.

Frequent brushing can keep plaque levels down but far more effective is avoiding sugary foods and drinks altogether, especially between meals and in the evening before we go to bed.

Children’s teeth are particularly at risk from decay as the enamel has not had the time needed to fully strengthen and develop. So too many sugary drinks and snacks can be especially harmful to them. So doing all we can to care for our children’s teeth is vital if we want to be sure of their long-term dental health.

Types of filling

White fillings

More and more people today are opting for white fillings which use a substance that aims to replicate the natural colour of the tooth as closely as possible. In many cases it’s only the closest examination that will show that it’s a filling at all. As well as the aesthetic reasons for their choice, some people are concerned that the alternative, silver, fillings contain small amounts of mercury.

Silver fillings

Silver fillings made from amalgam have been in use ever since the 19th Century when it was first discovered that it was a cheap, easy and durable substance to use. It still remains very popular today and provides a cheaper alternative to white fillings.

Fillings FAQ

Are there any alternatives to fillings?

If decay is caught early enough and when there has been only surface damage to the enamel then the dentist may just be able to apply a coating of fluoride instead. Your dentist will advise on this.


How soon can you eat after a filling?

It should be possible to eat and drink almost immediately after you’ve had a filling, but it might be a good idea to wait for a little while until any local anaesthetic has had time to wear off.


How long should fillings last?

As long as they have been well done and you continue to look after your teeth, there’s no reason why a filling should ever need to be replaced.

Miles more smiles.

FAQ - Doncaster Dental Centre | miles more smiles