How Does a Dental Filling Work?

How Does a Dental Filling Work?

Posted by MONTPELIER FAMILY DENTISTRY on May 25 2020, 04:05 AM

How Does a Dental Filling Work?

A trip to the dentist may reveal the need for a dental filling. When a cavity forms inside a tooth, the dentist must take measures to protect the tooth from further damage. Without this type of procedure, a patient may wind up with an infection. Becoming familiar with the process may help ease any reservations associated with it. Discover how a filling works and why dentists utilize them in fighting back against cavities.

The formation of a cavity

Cavities are breaches in the teeth that cause a fissure or hole to form. The process happens over time, starting when sugar deposits are permitted to remain on teeth. If not removed promptly, the sugar attracts bacteria that settle on the surface, eating away at the sugar. At some point, the bacteria form a sticky coating called plaque. A hard covering known as tartar helps to keep plaque firmly in place and difficult to remove.

The acidity in plaque wears down the protective enamel on teeth, allowing them to gain access to the softer inner workings. If the holes are not dealt with promptly, the bacteria can eventually cause a severe infection that may require removal of the tooth.

Steps to executing a dental filling

Once the dentist diagnoses a cavity, a treatment plan is created. Depending on the severity of the hole and the location, the dentist may recommend the immediate intervention to stop the spread of bacteria into the tooth. Filling the fracture is a common and effective way to accomplish this task. The process is relatively quick and painless.


A filling involves an intrusion into the tooth. As a precautionary measure and to ensure there is no pain associated with it, the dentist will inject a numbing agent around the tooth. Depending on the location of the cavity, the dentist may have to numb a wider area of the mouth.


Some cavities are topical, but most require the use of a dental drill. The dentist uses the instrument to get to the cavity and properly tend to it. In some cases, the dentist may discover that the bacteria spread is too destructive to fix with a filling. A crown may be required to seal this type of cavity.


The bacteria must be removed and the tooth thoroughly cleaned to reduce the chance of a painful and destructive infection. Loose pieces of the tooth are also removed during this step. Some dentists may use acid to ensure the area to be filled is free of bacteria.


There are different filling types available to fill a cavity. A popular choice is a composite resin, which is mixed to match the color of the tooth. Before composite fillings, silver amalgam fillings were much more prominent. While this is still an option, many opt against them as they are highly visible in the mouth. However, amalgam fillings are the most durable and last much longer than composite fillings.


Finding out a tooth has a cavity may come as a surprise. Understanding how and why a dentist opts to use a dental filling to fix it makes the process less mysterious, reducing stress.

Request an appointment here: or call Montpelier Family Dentistry at 301-604-0025 for an appointment in our Laurel office.

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    14502 Greenview Dr #100
    Laurel, MD, 20708

    Montpelier Family Dentistry

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