So you think you need a filling?

Fillings are a common dental treatment that fix a hole in your tooth caused by decay.

Fillings are very common, and most people will need one at some stage in their lives. It’s important to take good care of your oral health to reduce the chance of needing a filling.

Common signs you may need a filling include:

  • Sensitivity of the tooth
  • Pressure felt within the tooth
  • Sensitivity to sugary foods
  • Toothache or pain, in or near the tooth
  • Dental floss that keeps tearing in a certain spot in your mouth
  • A hole in the tooth that you can visibly see or feel when you touch it

So you actually have a filling, what happens now?

If you need a filling your REVO Dental dentist will first remove the caries, or decay, from inside your tooth and then fill the cavity with one of a wide range of filling materials. Depending on the damage to your tooth, we use several types of fillings. This is usually based on the material that your dentist uses to fill the cavity left by the decay.

Some of the more common filling types include composite, amalgam and gold fillings. In many cases you’ll be able to choose which filling type you prefer.

Types of filling materials

Dental amalgam fillings have been used to fill teeth for over 150 years. Amalgam is what we know as traditional silver fillings. They are not actually made of silver but a combination of a few metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury.

They are a low-cost filling mostly used for large cavities in back molars because of their colour. An amalgam filling will darken over time but can last many years before it needs replacing, typically between 10 and 15 years.


  • Strong and durable
  • Cheapest filling type
  • Can help prevent recurrent decay


  • Can’t bind teeth together which limits use
  • More extensive drilling required
  • Can contain mercury in trace amounts

Composite or synthetic white fillings are popular because of their natural appearance and strength. They typically last up to five years.

A composite filling will be matched to the colour of your teeth as closely as possible. They are almost impossible to detect and are an excellent replacement for stained, chipped or leaking fillings.


  • Natural white appearance
  • Can bond weak teeth
  • Need less drilling preparation


  • Takes longer to place
  • Sometimes leads to increased sensitivity
  • More expensive than amalgam fillings

Gold fillings are very strong and durable and typically last 10 to 15 years and sometimes longer. Gold was the most popular filling material in the 1800s.

Some people prefer gold fillings because of its appearance, and it is sometimes seen as a status symbol.


  • Don’t corrode
  • Can withstand strong chewing pressure
  • Can look nicer than amalgam


  • Takes up to two visits to place
  • Conducts heat and cold so can be irritating
  • More expensive than amalgam fillings

Glass ionomer is a tooth-coloured material that was originally used as a dental cement for gluing crowns onto teeth. It’s basically a flexible paste that can act as a sealant.

It’s the cheapest filling material but also the weakest. Because of this it’s mostly used as a temporary filling or as a foundation filling under composite white filling material. It’s also used on baby teeth and non-biting surfaces of teeth such as decay around the gum lines.


  • Easy to apply
  • Low cost
  • Fluoride in cement provides extra protection


  • Not water resistant
  • Lack strength
  • Limited uses as a filling material

You can call our front desk at +254 (0)793 380 469 Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm and Sat 9am – 1pm, email us at [email protected] or fill the Contact Form