Home > Health Library > Fillings (Restorations)
A filling is a material that your dentist uses
to fill a
cavity after he or she removes any
To fill a tooth, your
Fillings can be made from many types of material. Talk to
your dentist about which type would be best for you.
After your dentist has filled the
cavity, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the numbing
medicine wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on
your numb lip or cheek.
You need a filling when tooth decay
has caused a hole (cavity) to form on a tooth surface. If you don't get a
filling, the cavity will get worse. It may cause pain and then an abscess. This may lead to more severe problems, such as
A filling repairs the tooth and stops
tooth decay. Over a long period of time, you may need to replace a worn-out
Your filled tooth may be sensitive to heat and cold for
days to weeks after you get the filling. Talk to your dentist about toothpastes
that may help you with this discomfort. Tell your dentist if your teeth are too
sensitive after you get a filling, because you can usually treat this
There is almost no risk involved in having a
If you have certain heart problems, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before a dental procedure. Some procedures can cause bacteria
in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of
the body. The antibiotics lower your risk of getting an infection in your heart called endocarditis. For more information, see People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis and Procedures That May Require Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis.
It is important to start treatment
before tooth decay becomes worse. More severe decay may cause pain and tooth
loss and may require a costly
root canal, or tooth removal (extraction).
In some cases, dentists use a
laser system to remove tooth decay and prepare the
tooth for filling. Laser treatment is a relatively new choice for dental
treatment and may not be available in your area.
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerSteven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network