South West Implant Centre


Tooth prepared for filling and after filling What are they?

A filling replaces part of a tooth lost because of decay or through accidental damage. 'Silver' fillings are made of amalgam - a mixture of mercury with silver, tin and sometimes copper.

What will your dentist do?

    • Numb the area around the tooth;
    • Remove any decay together with any old filling;
    • Remove any weak part of the tooth which might break later;
    • Shape the hole so that the tooth holds the filling in place;
    • For a large filling the dentist will sometimes use tiny pins and screws to help hold the tooth and filling together;
    • Put a lining underneath the filling if it is very deep, to make the tooth less sensitive to temperature changes;
    • When the tooth is prepared, soft amalgam is pressed tightly into the hole - you might hear it squeak when it goes in;
    • The filling is carved to fit into the hole in the tooth. The dentist might put a thin metal band around the toothwhile doing this to keep the amalgam in place while it is still soft;
    • You will be asked to close your mouth gently on the filling to check that it is the right height and comfortable;
    • The filling might be polished - this would be done at the next visit when the filling is completely hard.

What are the benefits?

    • A filling rebuilds the tooth for chewing;
    • If decay is left unchecked it can eat into the tooth and cause pain. The tooth might then have to be 'root filled' or extracted;
    • A filling can end toothache or prevent toothache developing;
    • Amalgam is soft and mouldable at first but quickly becomes very hard. Silver fillings are very strong so they can be ideal for back teeth where there is heavy wear from chewing.

White Filling.

Incisor teeth filled with white filling. What are they?

Unlike amalgam (silver) fillings, white fillings stick to teeth so they can be used to repair teeth (especially front teeth) which have been chipped, broken or decayed. They can sometimes be used in back teeth if there is not too much decay or damage.

You will probably hear the dentist talk about 'composite' or 'glass ionomer' - these are just different types of whte filling.

What will your dentist do?

There are several steps:

    • A local anaesthetic to numb the area may be given;
    • Any decay is removed;
    • Some or all of an old filling might also need to be removed;
    • The tooth is washed and dried by blowing water and then air onto it. You will hear this and see the dentist holding something which looks like a water pistol;
    • The filling material is put into the mouth and shaped;
    • The filling is usually hardened by pointing a bright light at it, inside your mouth. You will se the dentist and dental nurse protecting their eyes;
    • The filling is then trimmed and might be polished.

What are the benefits?

    • White fillings are tooth-coloured. They come in a range of shades so they can be matched to the colour of your own teeth;
    • Because white fillings are sticky they can be used to reshape and rebuild broken edges or worn teeth. They can also be used to cover marks - discolouration- if they can't be removed by cleaning;
    • A tooth needs less preparation for a white filling than for a silver filling.

White fillings are not as strong as silver fillings, so they may not be suitable for large fillings in back teeth. They also need very dry conditions which can be hard to achieve right at the back of your mouth.


A Centre of Excellence in Dentistry


South West
Implant Centre,

37 Badminton Road,
Bristol BS16 6BP


07731 579 726



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