How Long Does a Dental Filling Take?

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Curious about how long does a dental filling takes?

How Long Does a Dental Filling Take?

Depending on many factors, such as its complexity, number of cavities, and type of material, dental fillings can last from 20 minutes to an hour.

Below we will guide you through the teeth filling process, including the factors that can influence the duration of the procedure.

What is a Dental Filling?

A dental filling is an aesthetic dental treatment meant to restore your teeth’ function, aesthetics, integrity, shape, and anatomy when they suffer damage. These procedures are among the most common dental treatments in every dental clinic.

As its name implies, a dental filling involves using a filling material, typically dental composite, to restore your tooth’s looks and function. Dentists perform fillings to repair and restore cracked, decayed, stained, or fractured teeth.

Fillings also serve as a protective measure to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading to other tissues, avoiding decay to extend and reach your dental pulp.

Therefore, dental fillings are a primary dental therapy to prevent other complex treatments such as a root canal or a dental extraction.

With the appropriate care, fillings can last up to 7 years in perfect shape without requiring a replacement .

Different types of dental fillings

The type of filling depends mainly on the material used:

  • Composite Fillings: these are aesthetic tooth-colored fillings used for numerous situations and your dentist’s primary treatment choice.
  • Ceramic Fillings: they are aesthetic and durable fillings, often used for front teeth with extensive damage.
  • Gold Fillings: this is a long-lasting procedure with less aesthetic results but outstanding functionality. However, they are highly uncommon and typically more expensive.
  • Amalgam Fillings: these were metal alloy fillings, highly popular decades ago. Although they are not common nowadays, they are a durable alternative used for back teeth.

Factors That Influence the Duration of a Dental Filling

Size and location of the cavity: Posterior difficult-to-reach areas and large cavities usually take longer to fill. Moreover, fillings near your gums or between your teeth require higher precision and more time and detail.

Complexity of the treatment: The more complex the treatment, the more time the procedure will take. Extensive and deep cavities typically require additional steps and procedures to protect your teeth and avoid sensitivity and pulp inflammation.

Type of filling material used: Composite fillings usually require more detailed and meticulous work, as they require layering and curing and are highly susceptible to humidity. On the other side, amalgam fillings are more straightforward procedures.


Finally, indirect fillings, like gold and ceramics, require multiple dental appointments to achieve the final results.

Number of cavities: Your dentist can decide to perform multiple filling restorations in one visit. Therefore, multiple cavities can extend the duration of your dental procedure, as each additional filling requires preparation and placement time.

Patient’s ability to sit still during the procedure: Your comfort and safety are essential for your dental professional. However, your ability to remain still and cooperate with your dentist can impact your procedure time considerably.

You can speed off the procedure by contributing with your attitude and stillness. On the contrary, young patients, particularly anxious or poorly cooperative children, may require more time.

The Process of Getting a Dental Filling

Every dental filling procedure starts with an initial examination, a comprehensive oral assessment, and X-rays to determine the extent of your decay. After diagnosing all your dental problems, your dentist discusses the filling options, tracing an effective and practical treatment plan.

Numbing the area: Local anesthesia is indispensable for a comfortable and painless procedure. Your dentist can also numb the area with anesthetic gels or sprays so you do not feel the initial sting. Your filling procedure will not start until your teeth are fully numbed.

Removing decay and preparing the tooth: Once your teeth are numb, your dentist carefully eliminates the damaged tissues with a specialized dental drill and burs. This stage is essential to prevent bacteria from spreading and provide a firm structure for your filling material.

With the removal finished, your dentist uses specialized chemical compounds to prepare your teeth surfaces and allow the filling material to bond to your teeth.

The Process of Getting a Dental Filling

Placing and shaping the filling: Composite fillings require modeling and layering before they receive a hardening curing light. They also need a careful color selection to match their surrounding tissues.

Gold and ceramic fillings involve tooth preparation and dental impressions before sending your fillings to the dental laboratory. Your dentist then places and bonds the final filling to your teeth with a specialized bonding agent.

Polishing the filling: Polishing is a crucial stage for every dental filling. Although it might appear insignificant, polishing your fillings delivers a smooth and unnoticeable finish. Moreover, polishing your fillings avoids dental plaque accumulation and prevents post-operative sensitivity.

So, How Long Does a Dental Filling Take?

  • Average time for a single filling: A single composite filling usually takes about 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the complexity and depth of the decay.
  • Additional time for multiple fillings: Multiple fillings in one dental appointment usually require more time. Each additional filling could add 15 to 30 minutes, depending on many factors.
  • Time variations based on different factors: Sometimes, your dental fillings might need additional protection to prevent damage to your dental pulp. This step is called pulp capping and is often required to prevent root canals and pulp irritation in deep restorations.


Dental fillings are versatile dental procedures with multiple benefits and applications. Depending on many factors, such as its complexity, number of cavities, and type of material, these procedures can last from 20 minutes to an hour.

However, your cooperation and assistance are essential to decrease procedure time and prevent possible complications. Remaining still and complying with your dentist’s indications and recommendations can reduce your appointment time considerably.

Finally, remember to maintain excellent oral help to prolong the lifespan of your restoration and prevent discolorations and failures.

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