One of the most common restorative dental procedures is dental fillings. Since 90% of Australians have some form of tooth decay, you will likely require a dental filling at some point. So how long does a filling take, and is this considered a major procedure? 

Dental fillings are classified as basic restorative care, requiring a single short appointment with your dentist. 


Composite Resin Dental Fillings 

There are several types of filling material used to prevent further decay and restore strength and structure to your teeth. While gold fillings and mercury amalgam fillings used to be commonly used for all restorative dentistry procedures, porcelain fillings and composite fillings have become more popular for their realistic appearance and durability.

At the Dental Spot, we use mercury-free tooth fillings for a safe and effective method to repair a cavity. Our dental fillings are made of white composite resin, so they blend beautifully with your smile. They offer a more aesthetically pleasing look than traditional metal fillings while remaining durable and protecting your teeth from further damage. 

Composite resin dental fillings can also be used to repair cracks, chips or small gaps, in your teeth, in addition to filling cavities caused by tooth decay. 



How Long Does a Filling Take: The Process 

The average lifespan for a composite resin filling is seven years. In cases where the fillings are small, and the patient is diligent with their oral hygiene, these dental fillings can last up to ten years. 

Composite fillings are made from a combination of acrylic and ceramic resins. They can be matched to the exact shade of your natural teeth, making them suitable for restoring both front teeth and molars.

How long does a filling take to have applied? An appointment for dental fillings typically takes between twenty to sixty minutes. 

To place composite resin dental fillings, the dentist applies a local anesthetic and uses a dental drill to open the decayed tooth. They then clean the cavity and puts a bonding material on the inside of the hole.

Next, the composite resin material is applied in layers. Each layer is hardened using a light that cures the filling. After the final layer hardens, your dentist shapes your filling, so it feels smooth and natural, blending in with the natural tooth. 


Factors to Consider 

Although most cavity filling procedures take less than 30 minutes, the amount of time it takes your dentist to apply a composite resin dental filling depends on the nature of your cavity. 


  • Degree of severity 

The severity of your cavity directly impacts how long it takes your dentist to apply the filling. Your teeth have four layers, and how long it takes to fill a tooth depends on how many layers the tooth decay has progressed through. 

The outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel, is also the hardest. This layer protects the tooth from bacteria and acids; it cannot regenerate, so once it’s damaged, your enamel is gone forever. 

If a cavity progresses through the enamel layer, it reaches your tooth’s dentin. When you feel sensitivity to heat and cold due to a cavity, this is because your dentin is exposed. 

The third layer of the tooth is the pulp, where your blood vessels and nerves are housed. 

Underneath the pulp is the cementum, which covers your roots and attaches them to the jawbone. When a cavity progresses through these layers, the filling process is more complex, requiring a longer appointment and sometimes additional work such as a root canal.


  • Location

The location of your cavity also affects how long it takes your dentist to fill. Occlusal or smooth-surface cavities typically occur in the molars. Fissure cavities also occur in the molars but are known as pit cavities because they are located in the deep grooves of these teeth. 

Root cavities form below your gumline affecting your cementum tooth layer. These cavities usually occur in people with receding gum lines and poor oral hygiene. They develop quickly and require more extensive treatment.  


When is a Filling Necessary?

If you have tooth decay or a cracked or chipped tooth, you may need a dental filling. However, not all dental issues that require dental fillings are visible. Some signs that you need a filling include:

  • A persistent toothachestep by step tooth fillings croydon
  • Floss tearing or abrading 
  • Teeth that feel rough under your tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Food getting stuck between certain teeth
  • Teeth that appear grey

These symptoms may indicate internal tooth decay, tooth crazing, or enamel erosion. Internal tooth decay can lead to a broken tooth that requires more extensive treatment, such as a dental crown. Opening the tooth, removing the decay, and placing a filling can help preserve the tooth. 

Crazing, thin vertical fracture lines along the tooth can be filled using composite to restore the structural integrity and appearance of your teeth. 

Erosion of the biting surfaces due to bruxism, clenching, or bite pressure can increase your risk of decay. Using dental fillings to build up the bite can restore your chewing ability and reduce the risk of cavities.


Prevent Cavities With Regular Oral Check-Ups 

Besides maintaining a diligent oral hygiene routine, the best way to prevent cavities is to attend regular dental cleanings and check-ups. Our comfortable practice in Croydon offers complimentary Wi-Fi and cutting-edge technology so you can receive the care you need in a stress-free environment. 


Schedule an appointment today by calling us on (02) 9158 6115 or fill out our easy-to-use online form.


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