a dentist performing dental fillings treatment to a girl

Understanding Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are a common dental procedure designed to restore the integrity and function of a tooth compromised by decay or damage. When decay creates a cavity, it must be removed to prevent further deterioration of the tooth. After the decay is excavated, the resultant void is “filled” with a dental material to restore the tooth’s shape and function

The Painless Cavity Paradox

Many individuals question the need for dental fillings in the absence of pain. Pain is often perceived as the primary indicator of dental problems; however, not all dental issues present with discomfort. Cavities can develop without causing any immediate pain, especially in their early stages. This is because the outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, has no nerves. It’s only when decay progresses deeper into the tooth, reaching the nerve-rich dentin and pulp, that pain typically ensues​

Early Intervention

Receiving a filling as soon as decay is detected can prevent it from causing further damage, which could result in more complex and expensive treatments down the line. Decay will not reverse on its own and, left untreated, will progress, potentially leading to severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss​

Fillings as Preventative Measures

In some cases, fillings are used proactively, not just to restore a decayed area, but also to strengthen a tooth that might be at risk of future decay or to replace old, faulty fillings. Dental fillings can also help release fluoride slowly, which can inhibit bacterial growth and help prevent future decay​

The Dental Filling Procedure

When you visit a dentist for a filling, the procedure typically involves an examination which may include X-rays, followed by the removal of decay, and finally, the placement of a filling material. The choice of material—gold, silver amalgam, porcelain, or composite resin—depends on factors like decay extent, tooth location, and patient preference. Each material has its pros and cons concerning durability, aesthetics, and cost

Material Choices and Longevity

  • Gold Fillings: Known for durability, lasting over 20 years but expensive and may require multiple visits.
  • Silver Amalgam: Less expensive, durable for about 10 years, but more noticeable and may require removal of more tooth structure.
  • Porcelain: Aesthetic and tooth-coloured, with a similar cost to gold and a lifespan of around 7 years.
  • Composite Resin: Tooth-coloured, bonds well with the tooth structure, enhancing strength, with a lifespan of about 8 years​.

Costs Involved

The cost of a dental filling varies with the material used and can range from approximately $100 to $300, not accounting for individual dentist rates and other factors such as tooth location and extent of damage​.

Post-Procedure Care

After a filling, some sensitivity is normal, but it should subside within a few weeks. Good oral hygiene is crucial to prolong the life of the filling and prevent further decay. If sensitivity persists or if pain develops, a consultation with the dentist is necessary to rule out complications such as the need for a root canal​


Ignoring dental decay because there is no pain can lead to significant dental issues. Regular dental check-ups and addressing cavities early with fillings can save not only your teeth but also time and expense in the long run. Prevention, as they say, is indeed better than cure.

At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit.

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

Latest Posts

What are the best dental care tips for seniors?

What are the best dental care tips for seniors?

Dental care for seniors is crucial for their overall health and well-being. As we get older, our teeth and gums might…

How can you prepare for dental surgery?

How can you prepare for dental surgery?

Preparing for dental surgery is a key step to making sure you’re ready for the procedure and can recover smoothly afterward.…

What are the signs of TMJ disorders?

What are the signs of TMJ disorders?

Recognizing the signs of TMJ disorder early on is crucial for getting the right help and feeling better sooner. This condition…

Frequently Ask Questions

A tooth may need a filling even without pain because pain is not always an immediate symptom of decay. A cavity begins in the enamel, which doesn’t have nerves and thus doesn’t cause pain. It’s only when decay reaches the deeper, nerve-containing layers that pain typically arises. Getting a filling at this stage prevents further damage and potential pain in the future

Yes, tooth decay can be present without pain. The initial stages of decay may not reach the sensitive parts of the tooth, and as such, might not cause any discomfort. Regular check-ups are vital for detecting such decay before it becomes painful and causes more serious problems​

Ignoring a dentist’s recommendation for a filling can lead to the decay worsening, potentially resulting in severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Over time, what could have been a simple filling may require more complex treatments like root canals or extractions​

A dentist decides on the need for a filling by examining the tooth, which may include X-rays to assess the extent of decay or damage. If the tooth structure is compromised by decay or fracture, a filling is typically recommended to restore the tooth’s integrity and function

Various materials are available for fillings, including composite resin, glass-ionomer cement, dental amalgam, gold, and porcelain. Each has its benefits and drawbacks regarding strength, appearance, durability, and cost​

The lifespan of a dental filling depends on the material used and the individual’s oral hygiene practices. Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years or more, while composite resin fillings typically last around 7-10 years. Gold and porcelain inlays can endure even longer, with proper care​

Gold fillings are known for their durability and can last for decades. They are also well-tolerated by gum tissues and have an excellent wear rate, which is comparable to natural tooth enamel. However, due to their high cost and visibility, they are less commonly used today​

The downsides of silver amalgam fillings include their noticeable colour, which is less aesthetic compared to tooth-coloured fillings. Additionally, they require more tooth structure to be removed to hold the filling in place. Although durable, there are also concerns about the mercury content, although it’s generally considered safe once the filling is set​

Porcelain fillings, or inlays, are strong and can be colour-matched to the surrounding teeth, making them aesthetically pleasing. They are also durable but require at least two dental visits to place, as they are made in a dental laboratory. They are, however, more expensive than other filling types

Composite resin is preferred for its aesthetic qualities, as it can be closely matched to the natural colour of teeth. It requires less removal of tooth structure because it bonds directly to the tooth. This bonding process also helps to restore most of the tooth’s original strength, which is an advantage over amalgam fillings​

The cost of a dental filling can vary widely based on the filling material selected (e.g., amalgam, composite resin, gold, or porcelain), the size and location of the cavity, the complexity of the procedure, and the dentist’s fees. Geographic location can also influence the cost​

Common signs of a cavity that may require a filling include visible holes or pits in your teeth, toothache or spontaneous pain, sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks, and pain when biting down. However, some cavities are only detectable by a dentist during an examination​

Yes, cavities will inevitably get worse if left unfilled. Decay will continue to spread and can lead to more severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss if not treated promptly

The process involves the dentist numbing the area around the tooth, removing decayed tooth material, cleaning the cavity, and then filling it with a suitable material. The type of material used can vary based on the tooth’s location and the extent of decay​

Most patients do not feel pain during the procedure because the area is numbed with a local anaesthetic. If you have any anxiety or concerns about pain, discuss them with your dentist before the procedure​

Dentists follow strict guidelines and regulations regarding the safety of dental materials. Materials like dental amalgam have been extensively researched and are deemed safe by numerous health agencies. Your dentist can discuss the safety of different materials with you​

Post-filling care includes avoiding very hot or cold foods if sensitivity occurs, chewing on the opposite side of the mouth until the anaesthetic wears off, and maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent further decay. If you experience persistent pain or sensitivity, contact your dentist​

If you experience pain after a filling that doesn’t subside or worsens, it’s important to contact your dentist. They may need to adjust the filling or check for other issues such as an infection or a high bite on the new filling​

Yes, fillings can fall out or fail due to further decay, wear, or damage to the tooth structure. Regular dental check-ups help detect these issues early on​

An old filling should be replaced if it shows signs of wear, cracks, or if there’s decay underneath it. Your dentist can advise you on the right time to replace a filling​

Fillings themselves do not prevent new cavities, but they do restore the integrity of a tooth compromised by decay, which can help maintain the tooth’s health. To prevent future cavities, a combination of good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups is essential​

Dental fillings should be checked regularly during your dental check-ups, which are typically recommended every six months. However, your dentist may suggest a different frequency based on your individual oral health needs​

Fillings may need to be replaced if you notice signs of wear such as cracks or fractures, if the filling becomes loose, if there is decay under the filling, or if you experience pain or sensitivity in the filled tooth

Fillings help maintain dental health by restoring a tooth that has been damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape, preventing further decay or damage, and allowing for normal eating and chewing

Different filling materials may require slightly different care. For example, composite fillings may be more prone to staining and might require more careful dietary choices. Your dentist can provide specific advice based on the type of filling you have

Alternatives to traditional fillings include inlays and onlays, which are indirect fillings made in a dental lab and then cemented into place, as well as dental crowns for more extensive decay. Dental sealants are also an option for preventing decay in the grooves of the teeth​

It’s important to act promptly if your dentist discovers a cavity to prevent further decay. While not every cavity needs immediate treatment, your dentist will advise you on the urgency based on the size and location of the decay​

After getting a filling, your dentist will advise you when it’s safe to eat normally. You may need to wait until the numbness wears off to avoid biting your cheek or tongue. If you received a composite filling, you might be able to eat as soon as you leave the office, but with amalgam fillings, you may be advised to wait a bit longer

A filling prevents further decay by sealing off the spaces where bacteria can enter, thus halting the progression of the existing cavity. It is not a preventative measure for new cavities but a treatment for existing ones​

After getting a new filling, you should avoid chewing hard foods or ice to prevent cracking the filling, biting on hard objects like pens or fingernails, and consuming extremely hot or cold foods if you experience sensitivity. It’s also important to continue with good oral hygiene to prevent new cavities​