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Dentist at Work 2

What are Fillings?

Standard fillings are covered on all of our dental insurance policies with Bupa and Simply Health.

If you want to ensure that you get the best care for your fillings, sign up for one of our dental insurance policies today to ensure the oral health and dental hygiene of you and your employees.

If you haven't got a filling, well done, but sadly most of the UK adult population has at least one filling.  When visiting the dentist, if they deem that you need a filling they will need to remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then 'fill' the area where the decay once was.  Fillings can also be used to repair cracked teeth or those worn by tooth grinding.

First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Next the decayed area will be removed with a drill or some similar implement. During the decay removal process your dentist will check the whole area to make sure all the decay has been removed. Once removed, your dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.  Metal or tooth coloured fillings are available, and these involve different levels of treatment depending on the colour selected.

What Kind of Fillings are Available?

The type of treatment you need will depend on how much damage there is, and which tooth is affected. These are the main options:

  • Amalgam – silver-coloured fillings are made from a combination of metals including silver, tin and copper. Amalgam is very hard-wearing, so it’s ideal for fillings in your back teeth. Amalgam fillings can last for 20 to 40 years, as long as you take good care of your teeth.

  • Composite – Composite fillings are what people often call ‘white fillings’, but actually they can be matched closely to the colour of your teeth. They look natural, so they’re great if your filling will be visible when you smile, laugh or talk. Composite fillings are only available privately.

  • Inlays and overlays – If a standard filling isn’t suitable, your dentist may recommend an inlay or overlay (sometimes called onlays, too). They’re more suitable for larger chewing surfaces, such as your back teeth. Inlays fit into the hole in your tooth, while overlays build up the shape of the tooth. They can be made from metal, composite or porcelain. Porcelain may be ideal if you're looking for something that's practically invisible.


If the tooth cavity is very deep, or the centre of your tooth is damaged, you may need root canal treatment to avoid having the tooth out. Although often called ‘root canal fillings’, these aren’t the same as a standard filling.

What Happens After a Filling?

After a filling the local anaesthetic will make your mouth feel numb, so you may have difficulty talking or drinking.  Be careful when eating to protect your filling and to make sure you don't bite yourself whilst your mouth is still numb.  After a filling, your tooth may be more sensitive to changes in temperature.  If this doesn't improve, please speak to your dentist.

How to Prevent Fillings

Once you have had a filling, we are sure that you will agree that you won't want to have any more!  Once you have one, your mouth is weakened, so it is really important to up your oral hygiene regime to maintain excellent health.  Here's some top dental advice from a friendly dentist:

  • Cut back/avoid sugary and acidic food and drink.

  • Ensure you have regular dentist and hygienist visits.

  • Floss before brushing.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each.

  • Use the correct toothpaste, if you aren't sure ask your dentist for advice.

  • Change your toothbrush (or electric toothbrush head) at least every three months.

​If you would like to find out more about how dental insurance can look after the oral health of you and your employees, please contact us.

Contact us today

Call us on 0800 0857 123  or submit a form for a free quote

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