If you need a dental filling, your dentist will start by numbing the area around the tooth using anesthetic. From there, the affected area will be removed using a dental drill, laser or air-abrasion tool depending on the position and extent of the decay. Once all of the decay is removed, the missing area will be cleaned and “filled” using one of a number of materials.
Traditionally, fillings were made of gold, porcelain or a silver amalgam, but newer dental fillings are made using ceramic or plastic compounds that more closely mirror the appearance of natural teeth. In those cases, the tooth-colored filling will be applied in layers, each one dried and hardened using a dental UV light. When the filling is in place, any excess is shaved away and the tooth is buffed and polished.