Everything You Wanted To Know About Dental Fillings

composite dental filling
23 Sep 2022

Everything You Wanted To Know About Dental Fillings

Fillings are among the most frequent dental interventions. It’s essentially repair work to cure tooth decay’s damages. The treatment is normally painless and takes around an hour. A cavity is filled to stop the spread of decay and restore normal dental function. Continue reading to find out more about getting a filling, the most common types of fillings, and the time it takes for a filling to set and heal.

Does getting a filling take a long time?

A filling usually takes no more than an hour. It may just take 20 minutes for a quick filling. While a bigger filling or many fillings may take more time, many modern dental practices have the equipment to create onlays and inlays in a single session. In addition, the process can be more involved or need a return visit due to the filling substance. Here’s an example:

Procedures involving the stratified placement of composite resin material in a tooth need more time but can still be finished in a single visit. An imprint of the tooth can be used to create a composite filling. The bonding of the filling will need a return appointment.

Only if your dentist’s clinic is equipped to handle gold or porcelain fillings (also known as inlays or onlays) can you expect to have the procedure completed in a single appointment. If not, it will need further trips. The dentist will fill the cavity and take an imprint on your tooth at the first appointment. The lab will make the filling based on the imprint sent to them. They will cement the filling to the tooth during your next appointment.

A new filling should take roughly as much time as the previous one did to the place. If the previous filling has to be drilled out, more time can be needed. A medical practitioner will remove the old filling and clean up the cavity before replacing it with a new one.

An Overview of What to Anticipate

In most cases, fillings are a quick and painless process:

  • The first step in diagnosing a cavity is an in-depth examination of the mouth using dental equipment. If they suspect severe decay, they can take X-rays of the affected tooth(s).
  • A local anaesthetic will be used to numb the region around your teeth. To put it simply, this will alleviate discomfort. If the filling is just on the tooth’s surface, you may not require any kind of anaesthesia.
  • After numbing the region, your dentist will likely use a dental drill to remove the decay from your tooth.
  • Your dentist will then fill the hole after sterilising and preparing the region. To cure (harden) some fillings, a blue-wavelength light is used.
  • Your dentist will next polish the tooth and double-check your bite.

Once the anaesthetic wears off, you will notice some sensitivity or soreness in the filled tooth, but no pain. Keep your intake of hot and cold beverages and meals to a minimum during the first day or two. However, you should be able to eat pretty much normally.

How long does a filling need to be set?

The substance your dentist selects to fill your tooth will determine how long it takes to harden.

  • Amalgam fillings are only partially stable after 1 hour, and fully stable after 24 hours. It’s preferable to wait until the filling has set before eating anything too firm.
  • Light curing is often used for composite and glass ionomer fillings. They take around 2–20 seconds for each layer to set, and each layer is 1–2 millimetres thick.
  • When a patient gets a ceramic filling, the dentist will use a blue-wavelength light to help the material harden quickly.

Tell your dentist if you’re concerned about the duration of the treatment and they can help you decide which kind of filling is right for you.

After getting a filling, how long does the healing process take?

Rapid and trouble-free recovery after fillings is the norm. You might have temporary sensitivity in your tooth once the anaesthesia wears off, but this should subside within a day or two at most.

To what extent do fillings last?

To some extent, how long a filling lasts is determined by how well you care for your teeth. If you take good care of your teeth, you can prolong the life of your filling and protect your tooth from further decay. The materials utilised can also affect how long a filling lasts. Remember that these estimates are just rough ballparks since everyone’s teeth and habits are unique. Broadly speaking:

  • Amalgam fillings have a lifespan of 5–25 years.
  • The lifespan of composite fillings is between 5 and 15 years.
  • When properly cared for, a gold filling can last up to 20 years.

Can you tell whether you need a filling by looking at your teeth?

Visits to the dentist regularly allow for the detection of cavities at an early stage. If you have a cavity filled as soon as you see it, you can save your tooth and reduce the severity of the procedure. Going to the dentist regularly is a wise financial decision. Cavity symptoms often include the following:

  • hypersensitivity of teeth to hot and cold temperatures
  • sensitivities to sugary meals and beverages
  • persistent tooth pain
  • an imperfection in a tooth’s enamel
  • discolouration of the teeth, either white or black

Make an appointment with your dentist if you think you may have a cavity so that your need for a filling or other dental work can be evaluated.


Inquire with our dentist at Super Smile Dental about the benefits and drawbacks of the various materials that might be used to fill up your tooth. Our dentist will also advise you on the proper maintenance procedures for your fillings. You should expect your fillings to last many years if you practise careful oral hygiene.