Our smile is the first thing people notice about us, so being happy and comfortable with your smile, as well as looking after it is a top priority.
When decay or cavity develops in your tooth, there are many solutions to help restore its function, comfort and strength, as well as protecting the tooth from further damage.
Fillings are the most common restorative procedure, and 90% of adults in the UK have at least one filling. – Statista
What is a filling?
A filling, as the name suggests, is a procedure whereby one of our dental specialists will ‘fill’ an area of a tooth where a cavity has been removed.
If you have a decayed tooth, then a filling will restore the shape and function of the tooth and prevent further decay.
They are also used to repair and restore cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down by grinding.
How do I know that I need a filling?
Cavities and decaying teeth, particularly if it is a small decay, do not necessarily hurt or cause pain, which is why it is vital to maintain regular dental and hygienist visits at least twice a year.
In order to assess the condition of the teeth, your dentist will use a small mirror to assess the surface of the teeth. They will also prod the teeth gentle to check whether any abnormal areas feel sensitive or ‘sticky’.
Any of these areas will be closely examined through an X-ray. Our team of dental specialists will then assess the most suitable treatment depending on the extent of the damage or cavity.
Fillings have been used for millennia. A recent archaeological discovery found that beeswax was used to make a filling for a tooth almost 6,500 years ago!
However, we know fillings to be more traditionally made of various metals, such as gold, silver and amalgam fillings.
With an increasing opinion that metallic coloured fillings are unsightly and unsubtle, more people are opting for ceramic white fillings.
But apart from the colour, what is the difference between the types of filling materials?
This allows the filling to merge seamlessly with the teeth, especially when it is in a more obvious location towards the front of the mouth.
White fillings on the front teeth are barely noticeable.
Its aesthetic appeal makes white fillings a go-to choice for many of our patients.
The composite material is applied in layers and hardened with a special light, before being polished and filed accordingly to match the shape of the tooth and prevent stains.
This bonding procedure allows for the tooth to be supported and restores 90% of its original strength.
Our tooth coloured filling prices begin from £150 and are great value for money. See all cosmetic treatment prices here.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
Amalgam fillings are very durable, and can typically last anywhere between 10 and 15 years, and restores the biting and chewing functions of the teeth.
They are cheaper than tooth-coloured fillings, but they are a very distinctive metallic colour, which many patients can consider as being more obvious and off-putting.
They are mostly used for back teeth because of this.
Cast Gold Fillings
Gold fillings are made to order, and rather than a liquid material that is bonded and shaped in the tooth, they are made prior to placement and then cemented in place.
The gums, teeth and mouth react well to gold and can last a very long time with the correct care.
While white and amalgam fillings can be placed within a single visit, gold fillings require multiple visits to the dentist.
Gold fillings cost up to 10 times higher than ceramic white fillings, and like amalgam fillings, their metallic colour is considered unsightly by many patients who are already insecure about their smile.
These are called inlays and onlays, and are bonded to your damaged tooth. Much like white fillings, they are tooth-coloured, allowing for a subtle restoration of your smile.
A porcelain filling covers most of the tooth and is often used on front teeth for a brighter and whiter smile.
Learn more about filling materials here.
White fillings: the procedure
Before the procedure, one of our experienced dentists will ensure that you are comfortable and prepared for the procedure.
- Local Anaesthetic: The first step of the filling placement appointment is a local anaesthetic. It is important to us that your dental treatment at The Perfect Smile is as pain-free and comfortable as possible. Your dentist will gently inject a local anaesthetic into your gum to numb the area that will be treated. In order to allow for this to take full effect, you will usually have to wait a little while – around 30 minutes.
- Removal of the tooth’s cavity: As well as holes in the tooth’s surface, you may also have small areas that are beginning to decay around it too. This is all removed using a small drill before your filling can be placed. You will not feel any pain, just a buzzing sensation and some pressure.
- Placement of the filling: Once the decayed area has been removed, the dentist will place the filling. Once in place and bonded using a light, one of our oral specialists will apply a resin for an extra stronghold. You may also have your tooth polished for a final touch, and to make the treatment seamlessly natural looking.
- After the procedure: You may feel a very slight toothache once your anaesthetic wears off, which is easily remedied with over-the-counter painkillers if needed. This is an easy and pain-free procedure that not only leaves your tooth looking perfect, but restores strength, chew and bite functions.
How long do fillings last?
Their long-lasting durability makes them an incredibly successful and effective treatment for tooth cavities.
Benefits of white fillings (tooth-coloured):
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, there are a number of benefits to having a white filling fitted:
- The composite material is bonded to your teeth helping to restore original strength and function
- White fillings match the shade of the teeth
- Do not affect your teeth’s sensitivity
- White fillings are completely risk-free
- Smaller hole, less filing is needed to make white fillings fit
- Non-invasive and painless procedure
- Can be fitted in one appointment
- Not prone to thermal expansion and contraction (like amalgam fillings)
- Durable and can last a very long time with the correct care
How much does a filling cost?
White fillings for the back teeth are available privately for anywhere between £40 and £260.
Prices will vary depending on the type of tooth that needs filling, and the extent of the damage.
We believe that all dental treatments – general and cosmetic – should be accessible and affordable for all of our patients, which is why we have a number of simple payment plans to help you.
Are fillings available on the NHS? Can you get them for free?
Fillings are available on the NHS and tend to cost around £62 (Band 2 fees).
However, it is important to consider that on the NHS, you will only be allowed white fillings for front teeth; amalgam fillings only are provided for the back teeth.
View the NHS dental charges here.