Dental Fillings in


What Are Dental fillings?

Dental fillings are used to treat cavities, also called “tooth decay.” If you have a cavity, it’s important to have it treated with a filling right away. At Woburn Dental Associates, we use strong, durable tooth-colored fillings.

During the filling process, any decayed material will be removed, and your dentist at Woburn Dental Associates will apply the filling material, sculpt and harden it, and restore the shape and function of your tooth. This prevents further tooth decay and related complications, eliminates tenderness and tooth sensitivity, and ensures you can smile brightly for years to come.

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Did you know…

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Over 90% of adults in the US have had a cavity. Contact Woburn Dental Associates to get the help you need today!

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (781) 933-0422

How it works: The dental filling treatment process

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Cleaning and Numbing

To begin the process, the treatment area will be cleaned and numbed to prepare it for the filling. You can also be sedated at our office to ensure you feel safe and comfortable during your procedure.

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Tooth preparation

Once your mouth is numb, your dentist at Woburn Dental Associates will use a dental drill to start trimming away and removing any decayed tooth material. This ensures the cavity is completely free of harmful bacteria and decayed enamel.

Filling The Tooth

When the tooth has been properly prepped, your dentist will apply a soft, tooth-colored dental composite material to your tooth, which will match the natural shade of your tooth perfectly. Then, they will shape it and harden it using a UV light to fill up the cavity.

Final bite check & polishing

When the overall shape of the filling is right, your dentist will use a special type of paper to check your bite, and make any necessary final adjustments to the filling. Then, the filling will be polished and you’ll be sent home with your newly-restored smile.

Types of Dental Fillings Offered

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Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings are highly durable because they’re made of a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, copper, zinc, and tin. While the silver color can be an aesthetic concern, they are far stronger than other fillings. 

This makes them the perfect choice to fill the rear molars or primary teeth. Primary teeth will fall out on their own anyway. Children must receive the highest quality fillings to protect their teeth for the proper development of their permanent teeth. 

The rear molars do not show when you smile and they withstand a lot of force from chewing so they need something that will not easily wear down. Amalgam fillings have a much longer lifespan than composite fillings, up to 15 years.

Composite Fillings

A composite filling is a tooth-colored filling made of composite resin that provides a highly aesthetic and desirable result. No one will be able to tell that your tooth is filled if you choose composite fillings, which is why they’re highly sought after for the front teeth that show when you smile. 

More and more dentists are adopting composite fillings as the new standard because they offer superior aesthetics, don’t contain mercury, and require less removal of the natural tooth structure. 

However, some people are concerned about fillings that contain mercury. While they have been deemed completely safe, some people cannot receive mercury-containing fillings, for example, those with metal allergies or pregnant women. 

We recommend composite fillings to be placed in the front teeth but they are not as suitable for the rear molars. Composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings and only have a lifespan of about 5 to 7 years. They will wear down much faster in the rear teeth which withstand a lot of chewing and grinding forces. 

Did you know…

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There are more than 3 million cases of cavities in the US every year.

Think you may need a dental filling?

Call (781) 933-0422

Have questions about cavities and fillings? Find answers here.

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Does getting a filling hurt?

No. Getting a filling doesn’t hurt. The process is minimally-invasive, and requires the removal of only a small amount of your natural tooth structure. Not only that, but your mouth will be completely numb, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort throughout the tooth preparation process.

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how long will my filling last?

Most composite dental fillings last between 5-7 years, but it’s not uncommon to keep a filling for 10+ years.
Mostly, the lifespan of your filling depends on how well you care for your teeth. If you maintain a good at-home oral hygiene routine and see your dentist at Woburn Dental Associates every six months, you can keep your filling in great shape. This is because premature filling failure often occurs when decay gets under the filling, causing the surrounding enamel to weaken and decay.
If you take care of your teeth and prevent tooth decay, your filling will last for years to come. So make sure you brush and floss regularly, and don’t forget to schedule preventive care appointments at Woburn Dental Associates. 

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What are signs that I might have a cavity?

Typical symptoms include tooth sensitivity to heat and cold, and sensitivity to particularly sugary foods and beverages. Your tooth may also hurt or feel sensitive when you chew or bite down on that side. 

In some cases, you may develop a toothache, but this depends on the severity of your cavity. Minor cavities typically won’t cause you pain or discomfort. 

You may be able to see a cavity with your naked eye. If you look at your tooth and see small holes, pitting, or black/brown stains, it’s possible that it’s a cavity.

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My tooth doesn’t hurt. Why do I need a filling? 

By the time your tooth hurts, it may be too late to have it filled. Toothaches usually don’t occur until your tooth has become infected. This happens when an untreated cavity or an oral injury destroys the outer layers of your tooth, exposing the vulnerable pulp that lives inside.

If you do end up with an infected tooth, we won’t be able to treat it with a filling. You will likely need root canal therapy and either a dental filling or dental crown to seal your tooth and prevent further damage. This process is more complex, time-consuming, and expensive than having a cavity filled.

Seeing your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and an exam will help you prevent cavities altogether. These regular visits will also help your doctor find the issues when they’re still small and relatively easy to treat. 

Are dental fillings painful?

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Not at all. The process of getting a dental filling is completely painless. Your mouth will be numbed before treatment begins and will stay numbed throughout the procedure. Getting a filling is a fast process, too. You can have your tooth filled in as little as 30-60 minutes.

If you’re nervous at the dentist’s office, you can choose to be sedated during your procedure to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe throughout the process. To get started, just contact your dentist and ask about your options for sedation during your treatment. 

How do fillings protect my teeth?

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A filling protects your teeth by eliminating decay and then sealing the tooth with a protective filling that maintains its structure and integrity. During the filling process, all the decayed enamel will be removed by your dentist. The cavity is then filled with an artificial material, like dental resin or metal amalgam.

By removing the decayed enamel and the bacteria that’s causing the decay, your dentist will halt the progression of the cavity, preventing it from getting larger and potentially causing a tooth infection. The filling helps protect the underlying tooth structure, and ensures that your tooth remains strong. 

What if my cavity is too deep or too large?

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During your exam, your dentist will check your tooth and x-rays to determine whether or not a filling is right for you. If you have a very deep or large cavity, a filling may not be the appropriate treatment to strengthen and restore your tooth.

In these cases, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment, like a dental inlay or onlay, or a dental crown. These treatments are more effective at protecting and restoring teeth that have been severely damaged by decay, and will provide better results.

Are Fillings Covered By Insurance?

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Yes, dental fillings are covered by dental insurance in most cases. If you can demonstrate that fillings are medically necessary because you have a cavity or dental trauma, then insurance companies will cover the treatment, usually up to 80 to 100%. 

This is because fillings are preventive measures that save you time and money on more invasive treatments that would be necessary if you didn’t get the fillings. Leaving a hole in your tooth can risk breaking the tooth or getting an infection. 

This can result in the need for extraction in some cases. Contact your insurance provider to find out what their specific coverage regarding fillings is. Don’t have insurance? Don’t sweat it! We offer financing options that will help you fund the cost of your treatment because no one should have to put off necessary dental work just because they don’t have insurance.

Can I Wait to Get Treatment?

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We highly discourage you from putting off treatment. This will only worsen the already existing problem. If you have a cavity, the tooth decay will only penetrate deeper and deeper into the tooth until it reaches your dental pulp. 

Once this happens, your tooth will become infected and then you have a big problem. You’ll likely experience pain, swelling, and an abscess. If you don’t treat it soon enough, the infection can spread to your other teeth, you could lose your tooth, or you could end up with a serious case of sepsis. 

Likewise, if you have damage to your tooth, failing to treat it can result in your tooth breaking which can leave sharp edges that can cut the inside of your mouth and also lead to infection.

Did you know…

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Nearly 80% of Americans have had at least one cavity before the age of 18.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (781) 933-0422