Hesperian Health Guides
Two Kinds of Fillings
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A permanent filling is made to last for many years. A dental worker trained in Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) can fill the cavity with a sticky material called glass-ionomer. Or an experienced dental worker can shape the cavity with a dental drill and fill it with a combination of materials called amalgam or composite.
A cement filling is a temporary filling meant to last only for a few months. It helps the person feel more comfortable until it is possible to get a permanent filling.
Replace a temporary filling with a permanent filling as soon as possible.
This chapter shows how to place cement fillings first, and then explains how to place permanent fillings using ART. It does not explain how to use a dental drill because most readers do not have the expensive equipment needed. Remember that many people can benefit from the extra time that a temporary filling gives them before they get a permanent filling.
A cement filling is often the first step to saving a tooth.