Getting a dental fillings is one of the most common treatments you can receive at the dentist’s office. It is the way that the dentist will treat cavities and relieve the pain and damage they can cause. If you have never had a cavity or a filling, it is helpful to understand how this process works. You can then go into your appointment with peace of mind that it will go successfully.
Cavities are tiny holes that form on the surface of teeth. Untreated, these holes can become larger and affect more of the tooth. Cavities can also cause infections and eventually tooth loss. Poor brushing habits are a cause of cavities and the need for a dental filling. A lack of brushing will cause bacteria to form, which can destroy the tooth’s surface. Eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth decay.
A filling is a type of treatment the restores the shape, size, and function of a decayed tooth. It fills the holes in the tooth and prevents further decay. Fillings are typically tooth-colored and made of ceramic, porcelain, or composite. Others are made of gold or silver. Fillings can last up to 10 years if the patient commits to good oral hygiene habits and reduce the consumption of hard and sticky foods.
Before deciding to place a dental filling, the dentist must identify that there is decay in a tooth. Larger cavities can be visible, and the dentist can detect them during an examination with a dental tool. X-rays can point out smaller cavities. The dentist will take these images to confirm whether a filling is the right treatment.
The dentist will begin by using a local anesthetic to numb the patient. Then, the dentist will drill through the enamel and dentin layers. The dentist will shape the space where the filling will go. There will also be a base placed in the tooth to protect the pulp.
Next, the dentist will clean out the decay from the tooth. If there is an infection, the dentist may use medication to disinfect the area. After doing this, the dentist will put in the dental filling. With composite fillings, the dentist will use light to harden it quickly. The dentist finishes by polishing the tooth to smooth away any rough spots.
The numbness should wear off within an hour or two. For the next few hours, the patient may have some discomfort and tenderness in the area. The tooth where the dental filling is may be sensitive to cold or hot foods or beverages. If there is any pain within a few days after the procedure, the patient should contact the dentist.
Having a cavity can be a serious problem. A dental filling is usually the most effective way to treat it. If you have a toothache, visit your dentist. Your tooth can be back to normal, and you can regain its full function.
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