A filling is recommended when a tooth has mild to moderate decay or fracture, or when older fillings start to fail. Local anesthesia is used to numb the tooth. Then, if any, decay or old filling material will be removed. Finally, the ‘hole’ is filled in and polished. We most often recommend using tooth-colored composite material for the filling material. It bonds to the tooth structure providing a good seal, matches the color of your tooth, and offers great strength.
The extent of dental decay is determined using clinical and x-ray evaluations. When you have a cavity with mild to moderate decay, you will usually NOT feel any pain or symptoms. However, if you wait until you feel pain, you may need a root canal or extraction instead of a filling.
If a tooth has a large cavity or fracture but no infection, a crown would likely be indicated instead of a filling. Too large of a filling will increase the risk for recurring cavities and fracture.