Process of Getting a Dental Filling

Family lying on a carpet

Dental fillings are a scientific response to the body’s inability to heal wounds in teeth. If you get a cavity, that hole stays there until filled. These fillings can be made of gold, ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, or a tooth-colored composite. The latter is the most modern choice, as most people want their fillings, and therefore the knowledge that they ever had holes in their teeth, to be invisible.

To start the filling process, our expert in dental fillings in Northridge numbs the area with a needle. After five minutes, the anesthetic kicks in and the dentist isolates the tooth from saliva—and your throat from tooth chips—by using a rubber dam. They then drill out the decay, and replace it with your chosen material.

Most fillings are done in about 15 minutes. Certain kinds may take longer, such as when the cavity is between teeth or deep inside the tooth near the nerve. In the latter case, the dentist may administer nitrous oxide to neutralize discomfort and anxiety.

If the bulk of the tooth has been destroyed by cavity, you may need root canal therapy. This is a separate process from an ordinary filling, but is just as routine.

Ask our cosmetic dentist in Northridge for more about dental fillings.


Inlays and Onlays Compared to Fillings

Patients have several options when it comes to restoring a tooth that has been damaged due to deep decay. Decay leaves an empty space, or cavity, in the teeth, which needs to be filled in. Inlays, onlays, and fillings can be used. Information about these options can help patients decide which is right for them and their teeth.


Inlays and onlays

Inlays and onlays are also called indirect fillings. This is because they are made in a lab and sent back to the office to be placed. Restorations that are used to fill spaces inside the tooth are called inlays, and for the cusp of the tooth, onlays.

Patients and our dentists in Agoura Hills often prefer indirect fillings due to the fact that they do not weaken the tooth structure, and in fact strengthen it. Teeth restored with inlays or onlays can sustain fifty to seventy-five percent more pressure than those that are not.



Unlike indirect fillings, regular fillings are created in the tooth. They can be made out of a variety of materials, including gold, silver, plastic, and porcelain. A large part of opting for a filling is how you want the restored tooth to look, as some of these materials are visible.

What to Do if a Dental Filling Falls Off

How to Keep White Fillings Clean

Dental fillings can last five to 10 years or more, but they can occasionally slip out of place. If your dental filling falls out of the cavity, you will need to have it replaced. Many times when this happens, dentin tubules become exposed through a cavity, which can cause heightened sensitivity or pain. Our emergency dentists offer treatment for lost dental fillings and can get you back on track without any pain or discomfort.

When a filling is lost, rinse your mouth carefully with warm water. Temporary filling materials are available over-the-counter and can be a good option if you are unable to get emergency care quickly. These fillings can seal the hole and protect your tooth from discomfort until you can get it permanently filled. Avoid chewing or biting on the filling. While this is a good temporary solution, it will not protect your tooth for more than a few days.

We can fill your tooth permanently when you get to our office. We will check the cavity for signs of further decay, remove any damaged tissue and fill the tooth. This should restore your comfort. If your filling was out for an extensive period of time, you may be at risk of infection and can lead to needing a root canal. Contact us as soon as possible after the loss of a filling to reduce the risk of long-term damage and to get emergency dental fillings placed.