When it comes to dental care, one common procedure that many people may encounter is a dental filling. Embarking on a dental filling procedure often comes with its share of apprehensions and queries, particularly in the communities of Arizona’s East Valley. Tailoring insights to this region, this guide dives into the crucial aspects you should anticipate throughout the dental filling procedure. Whether addressing a nascent cavity or revisiting an old filling, comprehending the nuances of the various types and stages of dental fillings available, especially pertinent to local residents, can significantly dissipate any concerns.

Let’s explore, together, a seamless journey through your upcoming procedure, ensuring you are well-armed with all the necessary information to make enlightened decisions about your dental wellness right here in our beloved East Valley.

What Are Dental Fillings?


A dental filling is a procedure performed by a dentist to repair a decayed or damaged tooth. When a tooth has a cavity or a hole, a dental filling is used to fill the space and restore the tooth’s normal function. The dental filling not only strengthens the tooth but also prevents further decay or damage from occurring.

Importance of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings play a crucial role in maintaining oral health. When a tooth is affected by decay, it is important to have a dental filling to remove the decayed material and restore the tooth’s integrity. Leaving a cavity untreated can lead to further decay, infection, and even tooth loss. By getting a dental filling, you are taking proactive steps to protect your teeth and preserve your smile.

The Dental Filling Procedure

Consultation and Planning

Before the dental filling procedure, you will have a consultation with your dentist. During this appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and determine if a filling is necessary. X-rays may be taken to assess the extent of the decay or damage. Your dentist will also discuss the different types of fillings available and help you decide which filling material is best suited for your specific needs.

The Procedure

On the day of the dental filling procedure, your dentist will start by numbing the area around the affected tooth using a local anesthetic. This ensures that you won’t experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Once the area is numb, your dentist will remove the decayed material using a dental drill or laser. The tooth will then be thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining debris or bacteria.

After the tooth is cleaned, the dental filling material will be applied. The type of filling material used will depend on your preferences and the recommendations of your dentist. Common filling materials include composite, amalgam, gold, and tooth-colored fillings.


After the dental filling procedure, your dentist may provide you with specific post-procedure instructions. These instructions may include recommendations for pain management, eating restrictions, and oral hygiene practices. Be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Types of Dental Fillings

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are made from a mixture of plastic and glass materials. They are often used for filling cavities in noticeable areas, such as the front teeth, as they can be customized to match the natural color of your teeth. Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth structure, providing a strong and durable result.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings, also referred to as silver fillings, are made from a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. They have been used for many years and are known for their durability and strength. Amalgam fillings are typically used for filling cavities in the molars or back teeth where aesthetics are less of a concern.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings, although less common, are an option for those seeking a durable and long-lasting filling. Gold fillings are made from a mixture of gold, copper, and other metals. They are custom-made in a laboratory and provide an excellent seal against bacteria. Gold fillings are typically more expensive than other filling materials.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings, also known as porcelain or ceramic fillings, provide a natural-looking restoration and are often used on visible surfaces of the teeth. They are made from a combination of porcelain or ceramic materials and can be color-matched to blend seamlessly with your existing teeth. Tooth-colored fillings are a popular choice for patients looking for aesthetic alternatives to amalgam or gold fillings.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Filling

When choosing a dental filling material, there are several factors to consider. These include:

  • The location and size of the cavity
  • Your budget
  • Your aesthetic preferences
  • Allergies or sensitivities to specific filling materials
  • Your dentist’s recommendation

Navigating through the various aspects of dental fillings becomes notably simpler when you’re in the hands of a highly reviewed local dentist, such as Dr. Nathan Smith in Mesa, Arizona. A professional with a stellar reputation and five-star reviews can guide you through the vital factors to consider when choosing a dental filling, ensuring that you are confident in your choice and satisfied with the results. These factors can include the location and size of the cavity, your budget, aesthetic preferences, any allergies or sensitivities to particular materials, and of course, professional recommendations. Collaborating with a renowned dentist like Dr. Smith, who is celebrated for his expertise and patient-centric approach, ensures not only that you’ll receive top-tier advice but also a dental filling procedure that is executed with utmost precision and care.

Possible Side Effects and Risks

Although dental fillings are generally safe, there are some potential side effects and risks to be aware of. Some individuals may experience tooth sensitivity or discomfort after getting a filling. This is usually temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or sensitive toothpaste. In rare cases, allergic reactions to filling materials may occur. If you experience any unusual or severe symptoms after getting a filling, it is important to contact your dentist for further evaluation.

Caring for Teeth with Fillings

After getting a dental filling, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices to ensure the longevity of the filling and the overall health of your teeth. Here are some tips for caring for teeth with fillings:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque buildup.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups.
  • Avoid chewing on hard objects or foods that may damage the filling.
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and beverages to prevent future tooth decay.

By following these recommendations, you can help protect your dental fillings and maintain good oral health.

Cost of Dental Fillings

The cost of dental fillings can vary depending on several factors, including the size and location of the cavity, the type of filling material used, and your geographic location. In general, composite fillings tend to be more expensive compared to amalgam fillings. However, it is best to consult with your dentist to get an accurate estimate of the cost based on your specific needs.


Q: Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

A: Yes, amalgam fillings have been used for many years and have been proven to be safe and effective. Despite containing a small amount of mercury, amalgam fillings release a minimal amount of mercury vapor and are considered safe for most individuals. However, if you have concerns about amalgam fillings, you can discuss alternative filling options with your dentist.

Q: Can I Get a Filling While Pregnant?

A: It is generally safe to get a dental filling while pregnant. However, it is important to inform your dentist about your pregnancy so that appropriate precautions can be taken. Your dentist may recommend postponing non-urgent dental procedures until after your pregnancy, but if a filling is necessary to treat tooth decay or relieve pain, it can be done with proper precautions to ensure your safety and the health of your baby.


Empowering yourself with knowledge about the dental filling procedure and after-care is a pivotal step towards optimal oral health. While understanding the array of filling types and maintaining good oral hygiene is fundamental, the true cornerstone of enduring dental well-being is choosing an adept dentist. Dr. Nathan Smith in Mesa, Arizona, not only brings a wealth of experience to dental procedures but also a compassionate approach that has been cherished by communities, including those in Tempe and Chandler. Ensure your teeth are not just treated, but cared for by making your next appointment with Dr. Smith – your pathway to stellar oral health and a captivating smile. Let’s safeguard your smile together, ensuring it remains as vibrant and healthy as ever, with regular check-ups and top-tier dental solutions tailored just for you.


1. American Dental Association. (n.d.). Dental Fillings. Retrieved from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/fillings

2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Dental fillings. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/dental-fillings/art-20246106