Fillings are among the most common of all dental procedures. Fillings become necessary when tooth decay has eroded the enamel of a tooth. A dentist will drill the afflicted tooth to remove the decayed dental material, then insert an appropriate filling. Fillings guard against further decay in the affected area, protecting a tooth.

In the past, the majority of cavities were filled using amalgam material. Amalgam fillings include a variety of metals that can sometimes be conspicuous. Composite resin filling generally looks more like natural tooth material than amalgam fillings do. In either case, however, fillings are intended to last for life.