Fillings are incredibly common restorative procedures. Most of us have experienced at least one tooth filling procedure, but very few of us understand what’s happening during the process. What is the dentist drilling away? Why do you need to wear those weird orange glasses? What sort of material is used to fill the cavity? Learning about this simple, straightforward process may relieve your curiosity or (if you’re scared of visiting the dentist for a tooth filling procedure) lessen your fears.
What Is a Tooth Filling Procedure?
A tooth filling procedure restores a tooth suffering from decay by removing the decayed portion of the tooth, cleaning the cavity, and then filling it with a durable material. This improves the health of the tooth by preventing further decay. If the decay has already damaged a significant portion of the tooth, a crown may be recommended instead.
- Numbing the Mouth: To ensure you don’t feel any pain during the procedure and to lessen your discomfort, the dentist will numb your teeth, gums, and the surrounding area using a local anesthetic. Your mouth will likely remain numb for a few hours afterward.
- Removing the Decay: Next, your dentist will drill out the decayed area of the tooth using a drill, a laser, or an air abrasion instrument. Since your mouth will be numb, you won’t feel any pain or discomfort.
- Cleaning the Cavity: After that, your dentist will prepare the cavity for a filling by thoroughly cleaning it out, removing any bacteria or debris. This is a critical step because it prevents future infection.
- Adding the Filling: Then, the filling material will be added to the cavity in layers. After each layer is applied, a special light “cures,” or hardens, it. This is when those funny glasses come into play; they protect your eyes from the light. Several different filling materials are available, and your dentist can help you select the right option for your situation. The two most common types are amalgam and resin composite, but other options include gold, porcelain ceramic, and glass ionomer.
- Checking Your Bite: After the filling is in place, your dentist will shape it and polish it, trimming off any excess. Then, your dentist will check your bite to ensure that your teeth align comfortably with the new filling. If your bite feels uneven, your dentist can adjust the surface of the filling.
A properly applied filling restores the strength and integrity of the tooth, preventing further damage and decay. Without it, the cavity would be at risk for a serious infection as well as chipping, cracking, or breaking. (So, if your filling ever falls out, contact your dentist immediately!) A filling fully and immediately restores the health and functionality of that tooth, so you can treat it like all of your other teeth. Depending on the filling material chosen, it may also blend in with your surrounding teeth aesthetically, matching the color and texture.
While it’s important to do everything in your power to protect your oral health and prevent cavities, it’s comforting to know that getting a filling isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s a very quick, painless procedure that will quickly restore your tooth’s functionality.
Curious what happens if you don’t get a filling? Check out our blog post!
Do you think you may have a cavity? If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!