Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are restorative treatments that repair teeth damaged by decay or cavities. They involve removing the decayed portion of the tooth and filling the space with materials such as amalgam, composite resin, gold, or porcelain. These fillings restore the tooth's function, strength, and appearance while preventing further decay. Their importance lies in preserving the natural structure of the tooth, preventing infection, and maintaining oral health, ultimately enabling proper chewing function and a confident smile. Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene are crucial for the longevity and effectiveness of dental fillings. 

Types of Dental Fillings 

Amalgam Fillings 

Amalgam fillings, composed of a mixture of metals including silver, tin, copper, and mercury, have been a staple in dentistry for over a century. Known for their durability and affordability, amalgam fillings are particularly suited for restoring teeth where chewing forces are high. While concerns about mercury content exist, extensive research has shown that properly placed amalgam fillings pose minimal health risks. 

Composite Fillings 

Composite fillings, made from a blend of plastic resin and finely ground glass particles, have gained popularity due to their ability to mimic the appearance of natural teeth. They are color-matched to the shade of the tooth, making them virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding tooth structure. Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, requiring less healthy tooth structure removal than amalgam fillings. They are ideal for visible areas and patients seeking aesthetically pleasing restorations. Contact us today!

Gold Fillings 

Although less common, gold fillings offer excellent durability and longevity. Crafted from gold alloys, they are highly biocompatible and resistant to corrosion. Gold fillings require minimal tooth preparation and can withstand the forces of chewing exceptionally well. While they may be more expensive than other options, their durability makes them cost-effective over the long term. 

Porcelain Fillings 

Porcelain fillings, or inlays and onlays, are custom-made restorations crafted in a dental laboratory. These fillings are made from high-quality dental porcelain and offer superior aesthetics, strength, and durability. Inlays fit within the contours of the tooth's chewing surface, while onlays extend over one or more cusps. Porcelain fillings are excellent for restoring large cavities or replacing old fillings in visible areas. 

Glass Ionomer Fillings 

Glass ionomer fillings are a versatile option that releases fluoride, offering additional protection against decay. They bond chemically to the tooth structure, making them suitable for areas with minimal chewing forces or as temporary fillings. While not as durable as other materials, glass ionomer fillings are commonly used in pediatric dentistry and for small restorations in non-load-bearing areas. 

The Dental Filling Procedure 

Initial Examination 

  • The dentist thoroughly examines the teeth, often using X-rays to assess the extent of decay. 
  • The affected tooth is inspected for decay, cracks, or damage. 

Anesthesia Administration 

  • Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area surrounding the affected tooth, ensuring a pain-free experience during the procedure. 
  • Patient comfort and safety are prioritized throughout the administration of anesthesia. 

Decay Removal 

  • Using specialized instruments such as a dental drill or laser, the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth. 
  • The decay is carefully excavated, leaving a clean cavity free of bacteria and debris. 

Tooth Preparation 

  • The cavity is prepared to receive the filling material, ensuring proper adhesion and longevity of the restoration. 
  • Additional steps, such as etching or bonding, may be performed depending on the filling chosen to enhance adhesion. 

Filling Placement 

  • The selected filling material, amalgam, composite resin, gold, or porcelain, is placed into the prepared cavity. 
  • The material is shaped and sculpted to restore the natural contours of the tooth and achieve an optimal fit. 

Curing (for Composite Fillings) 

  • If composite resin is used, a special curing light hardens the material, bonding it securely to the tooth structure. 
  • Curing ensures proper adhesion and stability of the filling, allowing for immediate functionality of the restored tooth. 

Finishing Touches 

  • The filling is trimmed and polished to ensure a smooth surface that blends seamlessly with the surrounding tooth structure. 
  • Any excess material is removed, and final adjustments are made to achieve an optimal bite and aesthetic appearance. 

Post-Procedure Instructions 

  • Patients are provided with post-procedure instructions, including guidelines for oral hygiene, diet, and follow-up appointments. 
  • Proper care and maintenance of the filled tooth are crucial for ensuring the long-term success and durability of the restoration. 

Maintaining Dental Fillings 

  • Brushing twice daily and flossing daily helps remove plaque and food debris contributing to decay. 
  • Regular visits to the dentist allow for early detection of any issues with fillings and prompt intervention if needed. 
  • Limiting the consumption of hard or sticky foods can help prevent damage to fillings and the surrounding teeth. 
  • Smoking can increase the risk of dental problems, including complications with fillings, so quitting is beneficial for overall oral health. 

Dental fillings are not just a solution for cavities; they are vital for preserving our teeth' health, function, and appearance. Visit Blue Turtle Dental at one of our convenient locations at 2290 Birch St, Ste A, Palo Alto, CA 94306, 81 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA 94062, or 1394 Franklin St., Santa Clara, CA 95050 to schedule your filling procedure and take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile. You can schedule an appointment online or call us at (650) 503-6777, (650) 345-5300 or (408) 246-6030. 


1394 Franklin St., Santa Clara, CA 95050

Phone: (408) 246-6030


  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRI - SUNClosed
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2290 Birch St. Ste A, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Phone: (650) 503-6777


  • MON - FRI8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SAT8:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • SUNClosed
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81 Birch St., Redwood City, CA 94062

Phone: (650) 345-5300


  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRI - SUNClosed
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81 Birch St., Redwood City, CA 94062

Phone: (650) 257-0213


  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRI - SUNClosed
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