What to Expect for a Cavity Filling When You Visit the Dentist
Expect to be at your dentist’s office for about an hour. This gives your dentist time to take x-rays, talk to you about the procedure and complete the dental work. The process of filling cavities is a fairly simple and straightforward one that can be done right at your dentist’s office.
Once you are numb and your tooth is prepared by drilling out the decayed portion, leaving a prepared area. A special bonding agent is then applied to the area to ensure that the amalgam or composite filling will attach to the natural tooth structure. If you get a composite filling a special curing light is used to set the bonding fluid.
Your dentist will then apply the amalgam or composite material to fill the prepared area, and then shape it to match the contours of your tooth surface. A curing light will then be used to harden the composite filling is solidified into place. Your doctor will then polish the composite filling to smoothen it and give it a similar sheen to the rest of your tooth. Once completed, your tooth is free of decay and restored to optimal strength and appearance.
Once you’re done, your mouth will probably remain numb for a few more hours. There aren’t any significant risks associated with filling cavities, but be sure to keep your dentist’s contact information on hand in case you have any questions or complications.
What are the Different Types of Fillings
There are many options available for tooth fillings. The types of materials that are used include gold, silver amalgam, tooth-colored composite material, and porcelain. The two most common materials to repair a cavity are dental amalgam and composite. Both materials do an excellent job of repairing cavities, but there are some differences to consider when choosing your restoration.
Dental amalgam (silver filling) is made of a mixture of metals and is the most commonly used solution to repair cavities in the back of the mouth. It is extremely durable and has been used for fillings for many years. However, dental amalgam does not mimic the tooth’s natural color, and does not bond to tooth material. Over time, this can result in the tooth developing cracks and the filling falling out. It is also more likely to be heat- and cold-sensitive.
Composite filling is made of material that closely blends with your natural tooth color. It is physically bonded to the tooth, is highly durable and more visually appealing. Composite fillings are typically more expensive. Many patients still choose composite due to the sheer beauty of the final restoration.
Both amalgam and composite are excellent solutions for repairing cavities. Your dentist can assist you in selecting the right choice based on your unique dental needs. Tooth fillings typically last for years before they need to be replaced.
Types of Fillings
- Amalgam Fillings: Amalgam has been used by dental professionals for more than a century; it is the most researched material used for filling cavities. Amalgam are strong and are therefore ideal for filling cavities in the back of the mouth such as in the molars, where chewing takes place.
- Composite Fillings: These fillings feature a combination of glass or quartz filler and can be made to match the color of your tooth. Composite fillings are also fairly durable and are ideal for small-to-mid-size restorations in areas of your mouth that perform moderate chewing.
- Metals: Gold or silver amalgam are the most common metals used for a filling. Gold can cost as much as 10 times more than silver amalgam fillings, but some people prefer the appearance of gold to silver fillings if they want the durability of metal vs. a less-durable composite material. Some people don’t like the appearance of metal fillings, but metal can last as long as 10-15 years before they need to be replaced.
- Ceramic: A ceramic filling (usually made of porcelain) is tooth-colored, and it may be less likely to show tooth stains over time than a composite filling. But price is a factor—a ceramic filling can be nearly as expensive as a gold filling.
Taking Care of a Cavity Filling
You may experience some sensitivity and pain after receiving tooth fillings, but this discomfort should subside. Don’t neglect your oral care routine. Instead, try products designed specifically to protect sensitive teeth. Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Plus Enamel Shield Toothpaste protects sensitive teeth, and also provides protection against future tooth decay. In addition, Oral-B Glide Floss for sensitive gums shouldn’t irritate the area around tooth fillings.
When to Call Your Dentist
If you have a tooth ache or notice signs of wear on an existing tooth fillings, such as cracks or worn areas and want to know what to expect for a cavity filling, visit your dentist to have them determine if you need a filling or if one needs to be replaced. Chew with a damaged filling can cause the tooth to crack, requiring additional repair that is more expensive than a simple filling. If additional tooth decay develops around a filling, whether or not the filling is damaged, your dentist may recommend a crown instead of a second cavity filling.
Call the dentists at Stonelodge Dental if you have a tooth ache or need a filling repaired and have questions. If you would like more information about your options, schedule an appointment online call 214-613-1500 today.