Dental Fillings Help to Protect Your Teeth
When a cavity erupts, patients need to know there are options for treatment. Cavities can occur at any age and in any teeth. The first line of treatment for any cavity is a dental filling. Filling the tooth helps to remove the damage and seal the tooth. Knowing what to expect from getting a filling will help to bring peace of mind and understanding.
Signs a Filling Is Required
Multiple signs can begin to occur when a tooth needs to be filled by the dentist. Regrettably, decay does not always show outward signs in the beginning. If a person notices any of the following signs, they need to come in for an examination.
- Dark or white spots on the teeth
- Increased sensitivity
- Previous filling damage
- Throbbing pain
Call on us to perform a complete examination that includes X-rays. X-ray films allow us to see deep into the tooth, where damage can lie hidden. A filling will be put in place for cavities and damage.
What Is a Tooth Filling?
A tooth filling helps to fill in gaps that are left behind after damage has occurred or decay has been removed. There are multiple types of filling materials, and the one chosen will depend on the severity of the repair, the location, and patient preference. The following types of fillings are common in dental offices across the country.
This type of filling is silver and is not used as often as in years past. Amalgam fillings are stronger than some other types and typically last for many years, if they are properly maintained.
Composite fillings are tooth-colored and they blend in well. While these fillings are not as durable as amalgam, they are typically less problematic and are a popular choice in more modern dental offices.
Gold, like Amalgam fillings, is strong and durable. Unfortunately, it is also expensive and requires more dental work than a traditional composite filling.
Ceramics, such as porcelain, offers a seamless repair that blends in well, but the porcelain can become stained over time from foods and beverages.
What to Expect from a Tooth Filling Appointment?
Patients who have never had a tooth filling are often nervous. Although it can be daunting, it is important to note the process is simple and will not require the patient to be put to sleep.
First, the dentist will examine the tooth and X-rays to determine the extent of work that needs to be carried out. Once the damaged area has been pinpointed, the dentist will go to work on numbing the patient.
The numbing medication helps to block nerve sensations for a period so the dentist will be able to work to remove the decayed or damaged tissue and the patient will not feel any discomfort.
Once the damaged tooth has been removed, we go right to work on filling the tooth with the appropriate filling. If composite fillings are used, we will smooth the material inside the tooth cavity and then use special tools to protect the bite.
Composite fillings require a UV light to harden them quickly. The light is applied for a few seconds and the filling is then hardened. The entire appointment typically takes around an hour or less, depending on how much work needs to be done.
What to Expect After a Filling?
Most people do not experience any side-effects from the procedure. The numbing medication will typically wear off within a couple of hours and this can lead to a mild feeling of soreness. We recommend patients eat a soft food diet for a couple of days to give their filling time to settle.
For most patients, there is no need for a follow-up appointment, though individuals should continue to schedule their bi-yearly preventative care appointments. If symptoms develop in other teeth, call the office right away.
FAQ About Tooth Fillings
Our patients who have never undergone a tooth filling treatment often have a lot of questions. Learning as much as possible about filling treatments will set patients’ minds at ease and help them prepare for their appointment.
Does it hurt getting a filling?
This is primarily one of the most common questions people have when they need a filling. With the numbing medication, patients will not feel any pain and only a minute amount of pressure in some cases. The numbing medication also helps to keep patients comfortable directly after their appointment.
How long does a filling last?
This is a question that is difficult to answer. The time a filling lasts will depend on the material and how well a person takes care of their teeth. Generally, composite fillings last five to seven years before needing to be replaced. Amalgams can last up to fifteen years.
How should I care for my filling?
Once a tooth has been filled, it will require special care to ensure damage does not occur. Patients should not chew on hard or very sticky candies or ice. Chewing on hard items can lead to damage to the filling and chewy candies can sometimes pull a filling from the tooth.
Does dental insurance cover the costs?
It is common for most health insurance companies to cover the costs of fillings, depending on the type. Some companies may require patients to pay a portion of the costs if they have a specialty filling such as gold. Patients should check with their health insurance provider before scheduling their appointment, to check on coverage.
Schedule An Appointment
If you have noticed changes to your tooth or are experiencing pain, call the office right away to schedule an appointment. With a full examination, we can get to the root of the problem and help you find relief.
Tooth fillings help to protect damaged teeth by preventing further injuries. With our advanced equipment, your filling will provide extensive protection and keep your smile looking healthy and beautiful. Call the office right away to get started on the process of protecting your tooth.