If you’ve never had a cavity before, the prospect of getting a filling could be a daunting one. Never fear! Fillings are a common restorative procedure and really not that big of a deal. To alleviate any concerns you may have, check out these answers to the most commonly asked questions about fillings.
1. Why do I need fillings?
If you have damage to your dental enamel as a result of decay, bruxism, a fracture, or another oral health issue, it is important to get a filling to repair the tooth. If left untreated, tooth decay can progress into a serious issue, leading to an infection of the root or even bone loss. Ultimately, if the decay is left for too long, you could lose your natural tooth. Therefore, it is important to visit your dentist at the first sign of pain and sensitivity in order to restore your oral health and prevent further damage.
2. Does it hurt to get fillings?
The fillings procedure is pain-free and safe. Your dentist will numb the area completely—first with a topical treatment, and then with an injected local anesthetic—before beginning the procedure. The dentist will use a drill to remove the decay and shape the tooth before placing the filling into the hole. While the drill does make a loud, high-pitched sound, you won’t feel a thing! When they’re done, they’ll simply polish the tooth and make sure everything is okay to go.
3. What materials are used to create fillings?
There are actually a number of materials that can be used to create fillings and remedy cavities. Amalgam is the most commonly known material—also known as the “silver filling”—as it has been around for almost 200 years. If you’d like a tooth-colored option, fillings can be made using composite resin and ceramic. You may even be surprised to learn that some people get gold fillings as well, though it is increasingly less and less popular.
4. How will my dentist know if I have a cavity?
There are a few methods that your dentist can use to detect tooth decay. The most common method is the use of a metal instrument called an explorer. This tool has a pointed tip that allows your dentist to find softer dental enamel. While healthy dental enamel is harder and resists pressure, decayed tooth enamel is usually soft. Your dentist might also use x-rays to identify cavities, though this is not always a surefire method when you have other fillings, for example.
5. You may have a slight recovery period.
Be prepared to experience some numbness for a few hours after the procedure while the anesthetic wears off. To make sure you don’t burn your mouth during this period, avoid eating any hot foods. You may feel some sensitivity to heat and cold over the coming weeks or days, but this should gradually go away on its own. However, if you do have some discomfort with your bite after the procedure—as though the filling is raised too high—be sure to call your dentist to have it fixed.
Do you have any other questions regarding the procedure? Are you ready to schedule your appointment and get rid of painful tooth decay? Call TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, and Hegewisch today!