Inverness Smiles: John Aiken, DMD

Understanding Dental Fillings: Types, Procedures, and Maintenance Tips

Understanding Dental Fillings: Types, Procedures, and Maintenance Tips

Understanding Dental Fillings: Types, Procedures, and Maintenance Tips

Dental fillings are dental restorations used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. When a tooth has a cavity, the decayed portion is removed, and the resulting space is filled with a filling material to restore the tooth's structure and function. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth.

The purpose of dental fillings in Birmingham, AL, goes beyond just restoring the appearance of your smile; they also help prevent further decay and damage to the affected tooth. By sealing off areas where bacteria could enter and cause more harm, fillings contribute to maintaining good oral health in the long run. Contact us NOW!

Types of Dental Fillings

Amalgam Fillings:

  • Amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, have been used for decades and consist of a blend of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper.
  • They are durable, cost-effective, and ideal for restoring large cavities in molars where chewing forces are greatest.
  • Despite concerns about mercury content, studies have shown that amalgam fillings are safe and effective when properly placed and maintained.

Composite Fillings:

  • Composite fillings, also called tooth-colored or resin fillings, are made of a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.
  • They can be color-matched to blend seamlessly with natural tooth enamel, providing a more aesthetically pleasing restoration.
  • Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth structure, preserving more of the natural tooth and requiring less removal of healthy tissue compared to amalgam fillings.

Ceramic Fillings:

  • Ceramic fillings, also known as porcelain fillings, are made of a tooth-colored ceramic material that closely resembles natural tooth enamel.
  • They are highly durable and resistant to staining, making them an excellent choice for restoring front teeth and visible areas of the smile.
  • Ceramic fillings are custom-made in a dental laboratory and bonded to the tooth surface using dental cement, providing a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing restoration.

Dental Filling Procedures

Examination and Diagnosis:

  • The dental filling procedure begins with a comprehensive examination of the affected tooth, including visual inspection, dental X-rays, and assessment of the extent of decay or damage.
  • Based on the diagnosis, the dentist in Birmingham, AL, will determine the most appropriate type of filling material and treatment plan for the patient.

Tooth Preparation:

  • To prepare the tooth for the filling, the dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic to ensure the patient's comfort during the procedure.
  • The decayed or damaged portion of the tooth is then removed using a dental drill or laser, leaving behind a clean, cavity-free surface for the filling.

Filling Placement:

  • Once the tooth is prepared, the filling material is placed directly into the cavity and shaped to restore the natural contours of the tooth.
  • For composite and ceramic fillings, the material is applied in layers and hardened with a special curing light to bond it securely to the tooth structure.
  • After placement, the filling is polished to smooth any rough edges and achieve a natural-looking finish.

Benefits and Uses of Dental Fillings in Birmingham, AL

Dental fillings in Birmingham, AL, serve as a crucial solution for repairing teeth damaged by decay or cavities. They restore the tooth's function and structure while preventing further decay from spreading. 

By filling in the empty space left by the removal of decayed material, dental fillings help restore the tooth's shape and integrity. This not only improves oral health but also enhances aesthetics, giving patients a natural-looking smile.

Moreover, dental fillings can help alleviate discomfort caused by sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks. They provide a protective barrier that shields the exposed nerves in the tooth, reducing pain and discomfort associated with cavities.

In addition to restoring functionality and alleviating pain, dental fillings can also prevent further damage to the affected tooth. By sealing off areas where bacteria could enter and cause more decay, fillings contribute to maintaining overall oral health.

Maintenance Tips for Dental Fillings

Practice Good Oral Hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and food debris that can contribute to decay around fillings.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent gum disease.

Avoid Chewing Hard Objects:

  • Avoid biting down on hard objects such as ice, hard candies, or pens, as this can damage or dislodge fillings.
  • Use caution when eating sticky or chewy foods that can pull on the filling and compromise its integrity.

Attend Regular Dental Check-ups:

  • Visit our dentist in Birmingham, AL, regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings to monitor the condition of your fillings and detect any signs of decay or damage early.
  • The dentist may recommend replacing old or deteriorating fillings to prevent further dental problems and maintain optimal oral health.


Dental fillings in Birmingham, AL, are a valuable tool in restorative dentistry, allowing dentists to repair damaged teeth and preserve oral health. By understanding the types of fillings available, the procedures involved in placing them, and essential maintenance tips, patients can make informed decisions about their dental care and enjoy a lifetime of healthy, functional smiles. Regular dental check-ups and preventive care are essential for maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of dental fillings, ensuring optimal oral health for years to come.

If you wish to learn more about us or patient information, visit Inverness Smiles: John Aiken, DMD, at 5291 Valleydale Rd, Suite 129, Birmingham, AL 35242, or call (205) 282-8261 to schedule an appointment.

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