A filling is required to treat the different types of tooth decay

Having a Filling

Despite advances in dental technology and prevention of disease, most patients will have at least one filling during their lifetime.

A filling may be required to:

  • Treat decay
  • Repair a chip
  • Bond over cracks
  • Improve the strength or aesthetics of a tooth

Fillings range from small superficial reconstructions to a full tooth rebuild. Generally, the steps are quite similar for most fillings, however the length of the procedure will vary based on the size and anatomical challenges of the filling.

A filling is required to treat the different types of tooth decay
A filling is required to treat the different types of tooth decay

One of the common questions we get asked by patients in relation to fillings is “Will I need an injection?”

The answer is that you won’t always need an injection in the following circumstances:

  • If the defect is small
  • The tooth has had prior root canal treatment
  • Elderly patients (who often have thick dentine protecting the nerve)
  • The tooth is not sensitive or the patient has a high threshold for discomfort

Most of the time we do require local anaesthetic to provide a filling comfortably. This is especially the case when a filling is deep or if we need to remove decay, or if the tooth is already sensitive.

A comfortable dental experience

A range of techniques including the use of the WAND local anaesthetic computerized delivery system and anaesthetic gel can make injections more comfortable. Things have changed a lot in dentistry over the years, and making sure your dental experience is as comfortable as possible is a top priority.

The restoration process

The process of completing a filling generally requires the following stages:

  • Ensure the patient is comfortable including appropriate anaesthetic
  • Remove any decay and weakened tooth structure
  • Remove any old deteriorated fillings in the tooth
  • Clean and prepare the tooth to give a fresh surface for bonding the filling
  • Apply a frame or formwork to help contour the filling
  • Layer the filling material in increments and set each layer
  • Check and adjust the shape of the filling so the patient can bite and chew comfortably
  • Ensure the filling is smooth so that it doesn’t trap plaque or annoy the tongue

Modern fillings generally set immediately, so it is okay to eat after having a dental filling done, however if you have had anaesthetic, you will need to be careful not to accidentally bite your tongue, cheeks or lip while numb.


If you would like to discuss your dental needs or have any concerns about your current fillings book a consultation with Dr Kate Amos or Dr Sam Rosehill at Ethical Dental on 6652 3185 or book online.


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