Here is everything you need to know about getting a filling, straight from the mouth of an Aurora, CO dentist. Learn more now.
Are you scheduled for a filling with your dentist?
If you are, don’t feel embarrassed. More than 90 percent of adults in the US have had a cavity. And, 1 in 4 actually has untreated cavities.
So, if you’ve made an appointment for your filling, then be proud that you’ve taken the step to take better care of your oral hygiene!
But, if you’ve never had a filling before, you might be a little nervous about your appointment. While this is quite normal, knowing as much as you can about your upcoming procedure can significantly help calm your nerves.
So, what do you need to know about getting a filling?
Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about fillings.
1. Why are Fillings Necessary?
When people need to get a filling, they often think, “Okay, looks like I need to go easy on the candy and the coffee”.
While candy and coffee aren’t great for your teeth, they may not be the reason behind your filling.
Fillings are necessary when food particles and plaque stay in contact with your teeth for long periods of time. Typically, food and plaque remain in contact with your teeth for too long for two reasons: improper brushing or the nature of the food substance (aka, foods that are sticky or sweet).
When particles and plaque are in contact with your teeth for too long, bacteria accumulate. This then causes toxins to and acid release, which in turn dissolves the enamel on your teeth.
Depending on how much the enamel has dissolved, it’ll begin to discolor. Your tooth may be light or dark yellow, light or dark brown, or light or dark gray.
If not treated at the discoloration state, the tooth will chip away and become what’s known as a “cavity”.
This is why you need a filling.
2. What Does Decay Look and Feel Like?
So, if you have a tooth that’s starting to decay, how can you tell?
Decay occurs in varying degrees, but here are some of the top signs:
- Your tooth has discolored areas, especially on the grooves and the back of the tooth
- There are dark spots on the front of your teeth
- There are chipped off areas on your teeth that your tongue often goes to
- There are holes that lodge food on your teeth
In addition to the look of your teeth, you should also pay attention to how they feel. If you experience sensitivity when you eat or when your mouth comes into contact with hot or cold things, then you may be experiencing decay.
3. Types of Cavity Fillings
There are several options available for dental fillings, and each one comes with their own pros and cons.
The best filling for you depends on what your insurance covers, what your budget is, and what your aesthetic preference is.
Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds of fillings:
If you’re looking for a filling that no one can spot, then a composite filling is your best bet.
Composite fillings, sometimes referred to as filled resins, feature a combination of quartz and glass filler. Each filling is made to match the color of your tooth.
These fillings are fairly durable and are ideal in areas of the mouth that do moderate amounts of chewing.
Amalgam fillings have stood the test of time, as they’ve been used by dentists for over a century.
Dentists like amalgam fillings because they’re super strong, which makes them ideal for the back of the mouth, where the majority of the chewing occurs.
Since they’re made from a variety of metallic elements (typically gold or silver), amalgam fillings can be visible when you smile widely or laugh.
However, these are among the least-expensive of all options.
Ceramic cavity fillings are typically made from porcelain. Because of this, they’re less likely to show stains over time than composite fillings.
These fillings are also tooth-colored, so you’ll never fill the need to hide your smile.
However, ceramic fillings can be quite expensive.
A glass lonomer filling is a blend of glass and acrylic.
This type of filling is great because it releases fluoride, which helps protect your teeth.
However, this type of filling is less durable than the other options on the list, which means it’ll need to be replaced more frequently.
4. What to Expect at Your Appointment
Now that you have more information about fillings, you’re probably wondering what you should expect during your appointment.
In general, you should expect to spend about an hour at your dentist’s office. This gives them enough to perform X-rays, talk to you about the procedure, and schedule you for a follow-up.
Before filling your cavity, your dentist will numb your teeth. They will also numb your gums and surrounding skin, as this will help avoid any lesions.
Next, your dentist will drill out the decay and replace it with the filling. This part of the process only takes about a few minutes and is completely painless.
Once you’re done, your mouth will be numb for a few hours, so be prepared for a slightly wobbly smile!
5. Taking Care of Cavities
After receiving a tooth filling, you may experience some sensitivity and pain. However, this feeling should subside rather quickly.
The biggest thing you’ll want to keep in mind for aftercare is your general oral hygiene.
Make sure you’re sticking to a routine of brushing twice per day and flossing once per day. And, it may be a good idea to invest in oral care products for sensitive teeth.
Getting a Filling: Are You Ready?
As you can see, there really isn’t anything to be scared of when getting a filling.
The procedure is painless, and in no time at all, you’ll be back to your regular self.
If you have any questions about fillings, comment below. And if you still need to schedule your appointment, get in touch with us today.