Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Fillings (Restorations)
Committed to Safety: As we resume services, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep you safe while we care for you. Please note that visitor restrictions remain in place. Get more information on COVID-19.
A filling is a material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after he or she removes any tooth decay.
To fill a tooth, your dentist will:
Fillings can be made from many types of material. Talk to your dentist about which type would be best for you.
After your dentist has filled the cavity, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the numbing medicine wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.
You need a filling when tooth decay has caused a hole (cavity) to form on a tooth surface. If you don't get a filling, the cavity will get worse. It may cause pain and then an abscess. This may lead to more severe problems, such as bone loss.
A filling repairs the tooth and stops tooth decay. Over a long period of time, you may need to replace a worn-out filling.
Your filled tooth may be sensitive to heat and cold for days to weeks after you get the filling. Talk to your dentist about toothpastes that may help you with this discomfort. Tell your dentist if your teeth are too sensitive after you get a filling, because you can usually treat this problem.
There is almost no risk involved in having a cavity filled.
If you have certain heart problems, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before a dental procedure. Some procedures can cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. The antibiotics lower your risk of getting an infection in your heart called endocarditis. For more information, see People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis and Procedures That May Require Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis.
It is important to start treatment before tooth decay becomes worse. More severe decay may cause pain and tooth loss and may require a costly crown, a root canal, or tooth removal (extraction).
In some cases, dentists use a laser system to remove tooth decay and prepare the tooth for filling. Laser treatment is a relatively new choice for dental treatment and may not be available in your area.
Current as of: March 25, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineArden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as of: March 25, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Arden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.