When Did We Start Using Modern Fillings? A History of Dental Fillings

May 31, 2022

Today, it is standard practice for Dr. Sharma to give you a dental filling after removing a cavity from your teeth. But our modern amalgam, porcelain, composite resin, silver, or gold fillings have not always been the norm. Take a look at how dental fillings have evolved over the years.

Bitumen 13,000 Years Ago

Amazingly, humans have been filling cavities for at least 13,000 years. This knowledge comes from the remains of a resident of the area that is currently Northern Italy. The person’s teeth were prepared with a drill. The fillings are no more, but there are remnants of bitumen. For reference, this is a tar-like natural substance.

Beeswax 6,500 Years Ago

Move up in time to about 6,500 years ago, and we have proof that people used beeswax as a dental filling. Impressively, this filling was still intact in 2012 after the discovery of the remains.

The only uncertainty is if the filling was added before or after the person died.

Amalgams in 659

We still use amalgams today, but they aren’t recent. The earliest recorded one was a combination of silver and tin described in 659 in China. The earliest written formula was written in 1505, which also included mercury. (Modern amalgams have different formulas).

Gold in the 1700s

While humans used gold as far back as 201, they didn’t start using it for fillings until the 1700s. At this point, it became common in Europe.

Resin Composites in the 1960s

The development of resin composites in the 1960s delivered fillings that looked like real teeth. Since then, materials have gotten even better.


From bitumen to beeswax, our ancestors have been filling cavities for millennia. When you visit your dentist today, you will have your choice of modern versions, many of which look like natural teeth. If you think you may need a modern-day filling contact our general dentistry in Midway.


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