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Smile Perfections
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Smile Perfections

Smile Perfections Dental & Cosmetic Clinic

  • 34 Harborough Road
  • Leicester
  • LE2 4LA
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At Smile Perfections, our white fillings can be made of dental composite, resin or porcelain materials and are used for a variety of dental restorations. Where initial tooth decay is present, the dentist will treat the tooth, removing the decay, and fill it with white filling for an enhanced tooth structure.

Replacing Amalgam Fillings

Dentists are replacing mercury amalgam fillings with white fillings as a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing choice of dental restoration. Mercury possesses a toxicity risk and metal fillings generally detract from natural beauty. White fillings are designed to match natural tooth colour and mimic healthy teeth.

Creating Inlays and Onlays

White fillings may be used as inlays to fill inner tooth cavities where decay has eroded enamel and exposed inner dentin. The white filler rebuilds the inner tooth and protects it from further decay by providing a strengthened tooth structure. Onlays are designed to fill a worn tooth cusp, usually within the inner molar teeth. Porcelain crowns may also be used as onlays to restore outer tooth surfaces for a healthier bite and chewing ability.

Preventing Tooth Decay

The main function of white fillings is to restore damaged teeth and prevent dental decay from developing inside the inner tooth pulp or the tooth roots. Chipped or fractured teeth can be restored with white composite fillings or tooth reshaping treatment for healthy structure and function. By improving the structure of the teeth food debris and plaque is less likely to become trapped. White fillings strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay.

Sculpting Veneers

The white dental composite may be used to help sculpt dental veneers. The sculpting of dental veneers is designed to enhance tooth quality and provide a brighter smile. Patients on a budget or those wishing to enhance only a few teeth may choose to receive white, dental composite veneer treatment.

White fillings, inlays and onlays are a metal-free solution with natural appeal. Composite fillings are ideal for the filling of teeth cavities and fractures, restoring tooth cusps and worn teeth.



What are dental fillings, and why are they necessary?

Dental fillings are a common restorative treatment used to repair teeth that have been damaged or decayed. When a tooth develops a cavity or sustains structural damage, the dentist removes the affected area and fills the resulting space with a durable material to restore the tooth’s form and function.

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Cavity Formation

Dental cavities occur when acids produced by bacteria in the mouth attack and erode the tooth’s enamel, creating holes or openings. If left untreated, these cavities can continue to grow, eventually reaching the inner layers of the tooth and causing pain, infection, or even tooth loss.

Filling the Cavity

By filling the cavity with a dental filling material, the dentist can stop the progression of decay, protect the tooth’s inner layers, and restore its structural integrity. Fillings allow patients to maintain their natural teeth and prevent further complications.

Damage and Wear

Structural Defects

Teeth can also become damaged or weakened due to factors such as injury, grinding or clenching habits, or normal wear and tear over time. These structural defects can lead to cracks, chips, or other forms of tooth breakdown.

Restoring Tooth Structure

In these cases, dental fillings are used to rebuild the missing tooth structure, reinforce the weakened areas, and restore the tooth’s strength and function. This helps prevent further damage and preserves the tooth’s overall health.

Cosmetic Improvements

Discolouration and Stains

Dental fillings can also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as to improve the appearance of discoloured or stained teeth. By replacing old, unsightly fillings or restoring minor defects, a new filling can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a person’s smile.

Dental fillings play a crucial role in maintaining oral health, preserving natural teeth, and restoring proper form and function. By addressing tooth decay, damage, and cosmetic concerns, fillings help patients achieve and maintain a healthy, functional, and attractive smile.

What types of materials are used for dental fillings?

Several different materials are commonly used for dental fillings, each with its own advantages and suitable applications. The choice of material depends on factors such as the location of the filling, the extent of the tooth damage, and the patient’s preferences.

Amalgam Fillings


Amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals, including mercury, silver, tin, and copper. They have been used in dentistry for over 150 years and are known for their durability and strength.

Suitable Applications

Amalgam fillings are often used for larger cavities or areas that experience significant chewing forces, such as the back molars. They provide a long-lasting and cost-effective solution for restoring teeth.

Composite Resin Fillings

Tooth-Coloured Material

Composite resin fillings, also known as tooth-coloured fillings, are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles. They are designed to match the natural shade of the tooth, making them an aesthetically pleasing option.

Cosmetic and Functional Benefits

Composite fillings are commonly used for cavities in visible areas, such as the front teeth, as they blend seamlessly with the surrounding tooth structure. They also provide good durability and can be used for small to moderate-sized cavities.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Fluoride Release

Glass ionomer fillings are made from a combination of glass and acrylic. One of their key advantages is their ability to release fluoride, which helps strengthen the surrounding tooth enamel and protect against further decay.

Suitable for Specific Applications

These fillings are often used for smaller cavities, particularly in areas with less chewing force, such as the front teeth or root surfaces. They are also commonly used as temporary fillings or as a base material for other types of fillings.

Other Materials

Ceramic and Gold

In certain cases, ceramic or gold fillings may be used. Ceramic fillings are tooth-coloured and highly durable, while gold fillings are known for their strength and longevity but can be more expensive and less aesthetically pleasing.

The type of filling material chosen will depend on the specific needs of the patient, the location and size of the cavity, and the overall treatment plan developed by the dentist. Regular check-ups and proper oral hygiene are essential for maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of dental fillings, regardless of the material used.

How long do dental fillings typically last?

The lifespan of a dental filling can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the type of filling material used, the location of the filling, and the patient’s oral habits and maintenance routine.

Amalgam Fillings


Amalgam fillings, made from a mixture of metals, are known for their exceptional durability and longevity. With proper care and maintenance, amalgam fillings can last between 10 to 15 years or even longer.

Potential Replacements

However, over time, amalgam fillings may need to be replaced due to wear, fractures, or the development of new cavities around the filling edges.

Composite Resin Fillings

Average Lifespan

Composite resin fillings, also known as tooth-coloured or white fillings, have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years, but this can vary depending on the location and size of the filling.

Factors Affecting Longevity

Factors such as grinding or clenching habits, the amount of chewing force on the filling, and proper oral hygiene practices can impact the longevity of composite fillings.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Shorter Lifespan

Glass ionomer fillings tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to other materials, typically lasting between 3 to 5 years.

Regular Monitoring

These fillings may require more frequent monitoring and replacement due to their weaker mechanical properties and potential for wear or fractures.

Factors Affecting Longevity

Oral Habits

Habits such as clenching, grinding, or chewing on hard objects can put additional stress on fillings and contribute to their premature failure or dislodgement.

Proper Care

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, can help extend the lifespan of dental fillings by preventing further decay or damage.

It’s essential to follow your dentist’s recommendations for regular check-ups and maintenance to ensure that any worn or compromised fillings are identified and replaced promptly. With proper care and attention, dental fillings can provide long-lasting restorations and help preserve your natural teeth.

What is the procedure for getting a dental filling?

Getting a dental filling typically involves a straightforward procedure that can be completed in a single visit to the dentist. The process follows several steps to ensure a successful and comfortable experience.



Before the procedure begins, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth using a local anaesthetic. This ensures that you experience minimal discomfort during the filling process.


The dentist will use a rubber dam or other isolation techniques to keep the tooth dry and free from saliva during the procedure, ensuring a clean and controlled environment.

Removal of Decay


Using a dental drill or laser, the dentist will carefully remove the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth, creating a clean and solid surface for the filling material.

Cleaning and Etching

After removing the decay, the dentist will thoroughly clean the area and may etch the surface of the tooth to help the filling material adhere properly.

Filling Placement

Material Application

Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist will apply the chosen filling material, such as amalgam, composite resin, or glass ionomer, in layers or a single application, depending on the material.

Shaping and Polishing

The dentist will carefully shape and contour the filling to ensure proper fit and bite alignment. For tooth-coloured fillings, the material will be hardened with a special curing light and polished for a natural-looking finish.

Post-Procedure Care

Bite Adjustment

After the filling is placed, the dentist will check your bite and make any necessary adjustments to ensure comfortable chewing and to prevent excessive wear on the new filling.

Aftercare Instructions

The dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions, which may include recommendations for avoiding certain foods or activities for a short period of time to allow the filling to set properly.

While the procedure for getting a dental filling is generally straightforward, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s instructions and maintain good oral hygiene practices to ensure the longevity and success of the filling.

Is it painful to get a filling?

Getting a dental filling should not be a painful experience when proper pain management techniques are employed. Most dental procedures involving fillings are performed with local anaesthesia to numb the area and minimize any discomfort.

Local Anaesthesia

Before the procedure, your dentist will administer a local anaesthetic, such as lidocaine, to the area around the tooth requiring the filling. This numbs the nerves and prevents you from feeling any pain during the procedure.

Dental Anxiety

Some patients may experience anxiety or fear related to dental procedures, which can exacerbate their perception of pain or discomfort. In such cases, it’s important to communicate your concerns with your dentist, who can provide reassurance and suggest techniques to help you remain calm and relaxed during the procedure.

Post-Operative Discomfort

After the local anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some minor discomfort or sensitivity in the area where the filling was placed. This is normal and typically subsides within a few days as the tissues heal. Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to alleviate any residual discomfort during the recovery period.

It’s important to remember that while getting a filling may be associated with some mild discomfort, the procedure itself should not be painful when proper anaesthetic techniques are employed. If you experience excessive pain or discomfort during the procedure, be sure to inform your dentist immediately so that appropriate measures can be taken to address the issue.

What happens if a filling falls out or becomes damaged?

If a dental filling falls out or becomes damaged, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further complications and protect your tooth’s health.

Exposed Tooth Structure

Increased Sensitivity

When a filling falls out or becomes cracked or chipped, it can expose the inner layers of your tooth, including the dentin and potentially the pulp. This can lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.

Risk of Decay

The exposed tooth structure is also more vulnerable to bacteria and acid attacks, increasing the risk of further decay or infection in the area where the filling was located.

Potential Complications

Tooth Fracture

If a large portion of the filling is missing or damaged, it can weaken the overall structure of the tooth, making it more susceptible to cracking or fracturing under normal biting forces.

Pulp Infection

In severe cases, if the damage or loss of the filling exposes the pulp (the innermost layer containing nerves and blood vessels), it can lead to inflammation, infection, or even the need for root canal treatment.

Prompt Treatment

Temporary Filling

If a filling falls out or becomes damaged, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They may place a temporary filling to protect the tooth until a permanent replacement can be made.

Replacement or Repair

Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist may opt to replace the entire filling with a new one or repair the existing filling if possible. This helps restore the tooth’s strength, function, and protection against further decay or damage.

Addressing a damaged or dislodged filling promptly is crucial to maintain your oral health and prevent more extensive and costly dental treatments in the future. Regular dental check-ups can also help identify potential issues with fillings before they become problematic.

How can I tell if I need a new filling or a replacement?

As time passes, dental fillings can wear down or develop cracks, leaks, or other issues that may require replacement. Keeping an eye out for certain signs can help you determine if it’s time for a new filling.

Visual Signs

Cracks or chips

If you notice any cracks or chips in your existing filling, it’s a clear sign that it needs to be replaced. Fillings are designed to be smooth and intact, so any visible damage means the filling has degraded and could allow bacteria to enter, potentially causing decay or infection.


Fillings can become discoloured or stained over time due to factors like foods, drinks, and smoking. While this may not necessarily mean the filling needs replacing, significant discolouration or dark staining around the edges could indicate a potential issue, such as a leaking filling or decay underneath.

Functional Issues

Sensitivity or pain

If you experience sensitivity or pain when biting down or consuming hot or cold foods and beverages, it could be a sign that your filling has cracked, leaked, or fallen out partially. This can expose the inner parts of the tooth, causing discomfort. Seeing your dentist promptly can help address the issue before it leads to more significant problems.

Rough or irregular surface

A well-placed filling should have a smooth surface that blends seamlessly with the rest of the tooth. If you notice your filling feels rough, jagged, or irregular when you run your tongue over it, it may indicate that the filling has worn down or become damaged, making it more susceptible to further deterioration and requiring replacement.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Professional evaluation

During your regular dental check-ups, your dentist will carefully examine your existing fillings for any signs of wear, cracks, or other issues that may necessitate replacement. They can also use dental X-rays to check for any decay or problems beneath the filling that may not be visible to the naked eye. Following their professional recommendations is crucial for maintaining good oral health.

If you notice any concerning changes or experience any discomfort related to your fillings, it’s always best to consult your dentist promptly. Regular check-ups and addressing issues early can help prevent more extensive and costly dental treatments in the future.

Are there any special precautions or care instructions after getting a filling?

After receiving a new dental filling, it’s essential to follow some precautions and care instructions to ensure proper healing and longevity of the filling. While the procedure itself is relatively straightforward, taking the necessary steps can help prevent complications and maximize the lifespan of your filling.

Immediate Care

Numbness and sensitivity

Due to the local anesthesia used during the procedure, your mouth may remain numb for a few hours after the filling. Be careful not to bite your cheeks, lips, or tongue during this time. You may also experience some sensitivity or discomfort once the numbness wears off, but this should subside within a few days.

Eating and drinking

Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling was placed until the numbness has completely worn off. Stick to soft, non-sticky foods for the first few hours, and gradually reintroduce solid foods as the area becomes less sensitive. Refrain from consuming hot or cold beverages until the filling has fully set, as the temperature changes can cause discomfort.

Ongoing Care

Oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for the longevity of your filling. Brush and floss regularly, paying special attention to the area around the filling to remove any food particles or plaque buildup. Proper cleaning will help prevent decay and ensure the filling remains securely in place.

Avoid habits that can damage fillings

Refrain from habits like nail-biting, chewing on hard objects (such as ice or pen caps), or using your teeth as tools, as these can crack or dislodge the filling. If you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a nightguard to protect your fillings from excessive pressure and wear.

Follow-up Appointments

Regular dental check-ups

Attend your regular dental check-ups as recommended by your dentist. During these visits, they will examine your filling to ensure it’s intact and functioning properly. If any issues are detected, your dentist can address them promptly before they escalate into more significant problems.

By following these precautions and care instructions, you can help ensure a successful recovery and maximize the lifespan of your dental filling. If you experience any persistent pain, sensitivity, or other concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for further evaluation and advice.

Can dental fillings cause any side effects or allergic reactions?

While dental fillings are generally safe and well-tolerated, there is a possibility of experiencing side effects or allergic reactions in some individuals. It’s essential to be aware of these potential risks and discuss any concerns with your dentist before undergoing the procedure.

Allergic Reactions to Dental Fillings

Material sensitivity

Certain materials used in dental fillings, such as amalgam (a mixture of metals including silver, copper, and mercury) or composite resins, may trigger allergic reactions in some people. These reactions can range from mild irritation or inflammation in the mouth to more severe systemic reactions like rashes, swelling, or difficulty breathing.


If you have known allergies or sensitivities to specific materials, it’s crucial to inform your dentist before receiving a filling. They can recommend alternative filling materials that are less likely to cause an adverse reaction. Additionally, your dentist may perform allergy testing or suggest a dental filling material that is compatible with your health condition.

Potential Side Effects

Tooth sensitivity

After receiving a dental filling, some patients may experience temporary tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, or pressure. This is usually a short-term side effect that typically resolves within a few weeks as the tooth adjusts to the new filling. Your dentist may recommend using desensitizing toothpaste or applying a protective coating to alleviate any discomfort during this period.

Galvanic shock

In rare cases, individuals with multiple metal fillings or other metallic dental restorations in their mouth may experience a mild electric shock-like sensation when these different metals come into contact with each other or with certain foods or beverages. This phenomenon, known as galvanic shock, is generally harmless but can be unpleasant. If this occurs frequently, your dentist may recommend replacing the dissimilar metal fillings with non-metallic alternatives.

Risk Mitigation

Communication with your dentist

The best way to minimize the risk of side effects or allergic reactions is to have an open and honest conversation with your dentist about your medical history, any known allergies or sensitivities, and any concerns you may have. Your dentist can then tailor the filling material and procedure to your specific needs, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience.

While side effects and allergic reactions are relatively uncommon, it’s essential to be vigilant and promptly report any unusual symptoms or discomfort to your dentist after receiving a new dental filling. Early intervention can help address any issues and ensure your oral health remains in optimal condition.

Do dental fillings pose any risks or safety concerns?

Like any dental procedure, receiving a dental filling carries some potential risks and safety concerns. However, with proper precautions and a skilled dentist, these risks can be minimized, ensuring a safe and successful treatment.

Material Safety

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings, which contain a mixture of metals including mercury, have been a subject of debate regarding their safety. While the mercury content in amalgam fillings is minimal and considered safe by most dental organizations, there are concerns about potential toxicity, especially in pregnant women, children, and individuals with mercury allergies or sensitivities.

Composite resin fillings

Composite resin fillings, made from a combination of plastic and glass materials, are generally considered a safer alternative to amalgam fillings. However, some individuals may have allergic reactions or sensitivities to the specific components used in the resin material.

Procedural Risks

Nerve damage

In rare cases, the procedure to place a dental filling can inadvertently damage a nearby nerve, leading to temporary or permanent numbness or tingling in the affected area. This risk is higher when working on deeper cavities or those located near the nerve endings.

Bite issues

If a filling is not placed or shaped correctly, it can cause problems with the patient’s bite alignment. This can lead to discomfort, jaw pain, or excessive wear on the surrounding teeth over time.

Infection Control

Sterilization and hygiene

Proper sterilization of dental instruments and adherence to strict hygiene protocols are crucial to prevent the spread of infections during any dental procedure, including fillings. Reputable dental practices follow rigorous infection control measures to ensure patient safety.

Risk Mitigation Strategies

Skilled dentist and follow-up care

Choosing an experienced and skilled dentist who follows best practices is one of the most effective ways to mitigate risks associated with dental fillings. Regular follow-up appointments and proper maintenance of fillings can also help identify and address any potential issues early on, preventing more significant problems from developing.

While dental fillings pose some risks and safety concerns, the benefits of treating dental cavities and preventing further tooth decay often outweigh the potential risks. By having an open discussion with your dentist, understanding the materials being used, and following post-treatment care instructions, you can ensure a safe and successful filling procedure.

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