Fillings are a dental procedure usually performed when plaque and tartar build up has caused tooth decay, though they are also done whenever tooth structure is weakened or compromised for any reason. Commonly, these pockets of decay are called cavities and can vary in size and depth; when they affect the surface enamel, the underlying dentin, or the cementum, which is the protective coating on the roots of your teeth, a filling is used to replace the lost structure and strength of the tooth and prevent the spread of further decay.
Regardless of the size or depth of the cavity, the weakened and decayed areas of the tooth will need to be removed via drill. In situations with minimal decay, anesthesia is not always necessary. In most occurrences, though, it will be used to prevent any pain caused by the drill. Once the nerves around the tooth are sufficiently numb and the decay has drilled out, the actual filling process can occur. Fillings can be made out of a variety of materials, including a variety of metal alloys, gold, amalgam, composite resin, porcelain, and glass ionomer cement. Deciding what type of filling is best for you can be done with the help of one of our dentists.