It is estimated that 2.3 billion people worldwide suffer from tooth decay of permanent teeth. Therefore, it is no wonder that dental fillings are the most common dental treatment provided. Does that mean that people are well aware of everything about them? 

We explored the awareness of 4757 respondents globally of popular notions about dental fillings. Let’s find out if they match experts’ findings. 


#1: Dental fillings repair tooth decay: FACT

Obvious, right? Well, not for the 18% of DentaVox respondents who disagree with this statement. Diving deeper into the statistics, we found out that the lower the education level of survey participants, the larger the share of people who are not aware that dental fillings treat caries. 

In fact, to treat a cavity dentists remove the decayed part of the tooth and then fill the previously decayed area with different materials such as metal, composite, and more. Fillings are also used to repair cracked, broken, eroded teeth.


#2: Dental fillings can be lab-made: FACT

Dental laboratories are usually focused on fabricating larger dental restorations such as dental crowns, bridges, or dentures. However, they can sometimes fabricate a restoration that serves as a dental filling but is made of ceramics or zirconia. The majority of DentaVox survey participants (61%) recognize this fact. 

Inlays are one example. See how they compare to dental fillings, directly applied by the dentist in the dental office. 

dental fillings vs inlay


#3: The mercury in amalgam fillings is dangerous: SO-SO

Whether or not the mercury in the old amalgam fillings can do any harm is a seriously controversial matter within the dental field. This probably explains the almost equal distribution of answers between respondents who think that the mercury in amalgam fillings is dangerous, and such who disagree or are unsure. 

What do the studies show? The amalgam certainly releases small amounts of mercury vapor over time but low-levels of inhaled mercury vapor are considered harmless to most people. The latest release by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, however, warns certain high-risk groups against mercury-containing amalgam fillings. These include pregnant women or such in a process of getting pregnant, nursing women, children below the age of 6, people with neurological disorders or kidney dysfunction.  


#4: It is possible to develop tooth decay under a dental filling: FACT

Most of us probably know this struggle: You get a dental filling on an aching tooth, problem solved… Well, yes but not forever. Months or years later there is a new decay on the same tooth. The majority of DentaVox respondents (61%) have probably experienced or heard of such situations. 

There could be a few reasons why a new cavity develops on a treated tooth, the most common of which are: poorly cleaned decayed surface in the first place, or just a completely new tissue infected. 


#5: Composite fillings can be in bright colors (e.g. pink or blue): FACT

Dental fillings are supposed to mimic the color of natural teeth in the best possible way. But can other colors serve a purpose too? It is considered that colored fillings can serve as a motivation for children to get their teeth treated. Therefore, some manufacturers who provide brightly colored compomers young patients can choose from. However, only 30% of survey participants are aware of their existence. 


#6: Dental fillings can be golden: FACT 

From colorful composites to a shiny gold – is it possible to have a filling made of this noble metal? According to 56% of DentaVox respondents, the answer is yes. 

And this is, in fact, true. Gold wire was used in dentistry in ancient times, and for filling cavities in the 19th century. Its popularity, however, seems to be fading away with new materials offering better aesthetics and price advantages. 


#7: A tooth can be prepared for a dental filling with a laser: FACT

The placement of a dental filling would not be such an unpleasant experience if it wasn’t for the drill that has to painfully remove the decayed tissue. Well, that’s exactly where dental lasers come into play and we notice that 56% of surveyed people are aware of this application. 

What are the main benefits of dental lasers, see on the image below.

benefits of dental laser


#8: All fillings need to be replaced eventually: MYTH

Over 65% of DentaVox respondents live with the idea that their dental fillings are temporary and will eventually need to be replaced. 

However, this is not necessarily true. If a filling is properly prepared and placed on a perfectly cleaned tooth tissue, it can last for a very long time, sometimes even a lifetime. This, of course, if you maintain good dental hygiene and have no other issues such as gum disease, teeth grinding, etc. 


#9: Composite fillings can cause dental problems: MYTH

One myth related to composite fillings states that they might lead to further dental and general health problems, primarily due to the small quantity of Biphenol A (BPA) monomer contained. Health risks caused by composite fillings are perceived by 40% of DentaVox survey participants. 

Science disagrees with this statement. The American FDA concluded health concerns regarding composite resins are baseless and do not have substantial evidence.


#10: Dental fillings can look like natural teeth: FACT

Nowadays materials and technologies allow for making beautiful and durable tooth replacements. This, combined with the skillful hands of a dentist, can result in a dental filling, indistinguishable from a real tooth.

This fact is confirmed by the majority of surveyed people (68%), while another 23% remain doubtful. 


Which of those myths and facts were you aware of?

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Stats source: DentaVox, 20 Questions: Dental Fillings
Base: 4757 respondents (global sample)
Period: 07/01-15/03/2021