A dental filling, also known as an inlay or onlay, restores a decayed tooth to a healthy and natural looking state. The process begins with the decayed portion of the tooth cleaned out of the tooth. Then, a material fills in the cleaned-out areas so that bacteria will not infect and further decay the tooth. Fillings can be made of metal, porcelain, or plastic depending on cost and the location of the repair. Metal fillings are typically more expensive, but they tend to be accepted by your gums and last longer than 20 years. Porcelain fillings have comparable costs to metal fillings, but they can better match the color of natural teeth and withstand staining. They tend to last longer than 15 years. Plastic fillings can also match the color of natural teeth; however, they can be stained by coffee, tea, or tobacco, and last 3 to 10 years. They aren’t recommended for large fillings because they can be more susceptible to damage. Implants tend to be more expensive than bridges because implants are stronger, longer-lasting, and don’t rely on surrounding teeth for support.