The best way to describe dental fillings to patients is to "fill" the area of the tooth that is decayed or chipped. A filling may also be recommended if there is a minor fracture in the tooth. The most common type of filling material now is a composite resin material also known as a "white filling".
There are many advantages to having a filling such as:
Bonded directly to tooth structure to provide additional support
Match the aesthetics of natural teeth
Can last many years
Some filling materials can release fluoride to safeguard the tooth from additional or recurring decay
Improved tooth functionality
To place a dental filling the dentist will remove the decayed, chipped or fractured tooth structure with a dental hand piece. Once the tooth is prepared, a bonding material is used which acts like a glue to hold the filling in place. The filling material is then placed in the prepared area in thin layers and it is hardened with a special light. When the last layer is finished the dentist will then shape the filling so it feels and looks natural.