A filling is placed in a tooth to restore it to its original shape and function when the tooth has been damaged by decay, wear or fracture.

A local anaesthetic is administered so that no discomfort is felt while the tooth is prepared.

All decay is removed and the tooth is shaped to receive the filling. Sometimes a metal band is placed around the tooth to help shape the sides of the filling. The material (silver amalgam or white composite resin) is packed into the tooth and is then correctly carved to shape.

It is of course better to avoid fillings by looking after our teeth well by regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning inbetween the teeth with floss or small brushes.

At Skircoat Green Dental Practice we put emphasis on preventing tooth and gum problems this way (see Oral Hygiene).

Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings are the most common fillings.


  • Only require a single appointment.
  • Strong and long lasting.
  • Can be easily carved to the correct shape.
  • Least expensive


  • Contains mercury which may be of concern to some people.
  • Look unsightly.
  • Are not always chemically bonded to the tooth
  • Weaken teeth.

    White Fillings


  • May be done in one appointment.
  • They are bonded to the tooth.
  • Look natural


  • Not as strong as amalgam
  • Large white fillings do not last as long as amalgam fillings
  • More expensive
  • The General Dental Council regulates dentists and dental care professionals in the United Kingdom.