This week at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, we want to let you know that fillings are nothing to worry about. Dental fillings, sometimes known as restorations, are one of the most common dental procedures. Most Americans will need at least one filling at some point in their life, and the procedure is so quick and simple that it should not be any cause for concern.
Why Would I Need a Filling?
A filling will be recommended by your dentist if they find a cavity in your tooth during your dental checkup. A cavity is basically a hole formed in the surface of your tooth’s enamel due to tooth decay. Some people are more prone to tooth decay than others, but you can reduce your chances of getting a cavity by avoiding sugary, sticky and acidic foods, and keeping up a good oral hygiene routine.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
To carry out a filling, your dentist will first numb the area of your mouth surrounding the tooth. This is to minimize any discomfort during the procedure. First, a numbing gel is applied to the gums. Once the gum has been numbed, the dentist will inject an anesthetic into the area to fully numb the surrounding teeth, gums, tongue, and cheek. The dentist can then use their tools to remove any remaining decaying material from the tooth and thoroughly clean out the hole.
After the cavity has been cleaned, they will fill the hole with a tough material designed to replicate the structure of your tooth. This will allow you to continue using the tooth to bite and chew as you normally would, and it will protect the damaged area from further decay. The most common materials used to fill cavities are composite resins, metal amalgams, ceramics, and gold. Dental ionomers are tooth-colored materials used for cavities between teeth or very small cavities. Ceramic and gold fillings are generally more expensive than composite resins or metal amalgams.
After the Procedure
While the procedure itself will only take between 20 minutes and one hour to complete, your mouth will probably stay numb for a few hours afterward. It is recommended to avoid eating solid foods until the feeling has fully returned to your mouth. This will lower your risk of accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Your tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures for a time after the filling. You can ask your dentist to recommend special toothpaste to combat this problem if it affects you.
A tooth filling is a quick, affordable, and painless procedure that can extend the life of your tooth by decades. If you refuse your dentist’s recommendation of a filling, the decay can advance deeper into the tooth and eventually cause a lot of pain and possible infection. Once the decay is advanced, the only options are to get a more expensive root canal and dental crown or to have the tooth pulled.
Now that you know fillings are nothing to worry about, you should schedule that appointment with your dentist, instead of putting it off until you are in serious pain. Bertagnolli Dental offers our Westminster patients a range of anesthetic and sedation options for all procedures. For all information and to schedule an appointment, we are here.