Dental Fillings: Procedure, Alternatives, and Comparison  


Dental fillings are crucial in many cases. In order to fill a tooth, the dentist has to administer a local anesthetic to make sure that the area around the tooth is numb which will eliminate or at least reduce the pain. To avoid contamination, the dentist will make sure to isolate the tooth and keep the areas dry using some type of dental appliance or guard.

Then, the decayed area of the tooth will be removed using a tooth that has been specifically designed for the location of the tooth in your mouth and the severity of the cavity. A laser, air abrasion instrument, or drill might need to be used by the dentist.

Once the dentist has effectively removed the decay, the tooth will be prepared for filling by making sure that it has been thoroughly cleaned. It helps ensure that there is no debris, decay, or bacteria that will cause any problem in the future.

The filling material will be applied by the dentist and it might require the use of a special light to harden or cure the product. For the final step of the procedure, your bite will be tested by the dentist to determine proper alignment. Then, the tooth will be polished in order for the filling to be smooth as compared to the other teeth.

Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings

The most common type of dental filling is amalgam filling. However, there are a few alternatives to the procedure, these are mentioned below.

  1. Gold

The truth is that gold has been used for a much longer period than amalgam itself. The reason why gold is a great alternative to amalgam is that it is extremely durable. Moreover, gold tends to be relatively biocompatible which is important when it comes to dental fillings. Since gold is, in fact, a metal alloy, gold that is used in dentistry is also capable of producing galvanic currents. However, you should keep in mind that the procedure is relatively more expensive and is not commonly used because there are many other aesthetically pleasing alternatives.

  1. Porcelain

Another popular alternative to an amalgam filling is porcelain restoration. It is the best of what dentistry has to offer. Not only is porcelain restoration highly aesthetic, but it is also more durable as compared to other options. The reason for this is that porcelain has properties that are similar to that of enamel. It is also biocompatible like gold and for a relatively lower cost, unlike gold. As they are made outside of the mouth in the dental laboratory, the shape of the restoration is quite precise for the adjacent teeth. However, keep in mind that porcelain restorations will cost you more than white fillings. But, porcelain does not need to be replaced as frequently as white fillings.

  1. White Fillings

White fillings are also referred to as composite fillings. They are biocompatible and also an excellent aesthetic alternative to porcelain. Moreover, white fillings cost less than porcelain and are shaped directly in your mouth. Thus, there are no laboratory costs that you need to worry about. Even though white fillings tend to be less durable than porcelain, the latest composites have shown wear characteristics that are similar to amalgam or if not better. Hence, it might be a good idea to opt for composite fillings rather than any other dental fillings procedure.

Furthermore, the bonding characteristics of the composites have the ability to increase tooth strength to a similar level of its original state prior to the decay. But, there is one problem when it comes to composite fillings and that is the possibility of post-operative sensitivity to moderate and cold pressure. Moreover, despite the fact that everyone responds differently, the level of sensitivity would dissipate after just a few weeks.


When considering a dental filling procedure, you should bear in mind that there is no single material which is non-reactive or safe for everyone. There is always a potential for reaction to any foreign material that gets placed in your body. This is why biocompatibility testing is crucial as it provides important information on the material sensitivities of patients.

It is a simple test that allows dentists to choose dental material that a patient is most compatible with. You should also remember that there are risks to replacing amalgam fillings with composite, porcelain, and gold. Even though these risks might be uncommon, they include infection, tooth fracture, or prolonged tooth sensitivity, or even biting pressure.


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