A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
There are a variety of filling materials available including a tooth colored composite, porcelain, zerconia, gold, or sometimes silver. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the filling is needed, and cost.