What is a Filling?
Fillings are used by dentists when they need to restore a tooth that has a cavity, although they can be used to help treat a cracked or broken tooth as well.
You may not even know you have a cavity when it first develops, which is why it’s important to maintain regular dental visits. If you have not been to the dentist in a while, sometimes you may notice some things that could be signs of a cavity, such as one of your teeth becoming sensitive or causing you pain after eating sweets, hot food, or cold food. You may also be able to see a hole forming in your tooth as well. If you do experience sensitivity or pain in one of your teeth, it is important to visit your dentist to have them figure out the issue.
If a cavity has formed, the dentist will schedule you to receive a filling.
The Procedure for a Filling
Step 1: Numbing the Area
Your dentist will begin by numbing the area around the tooth so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure.
Step 2: Removal of Decay
Once the area around the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove the decay and clean the tooth.
Step 3: Filling
With the decay removed and the tooth clean, your dentist will fill the tooth with a filling. Generally, you have an option of a gold, silver, plastic, or porcelain filling. Your dentist can discuss with you prior about which option is best.
Step 4: Setting the Filling
When the dentist places the filling in the tooth, they will use a special light to heat up the filling so it hardens and is cemented on your tooth.
In most cases, the whole process does not take very long, less than 30 minutes, and does not require multiple visits to complete.
While dental fillings can eliminate pain and restore the strength of your tooth, it is best to avoid needing one in the first place. To prevent cavities it is important to brush and floss twice per day, have a healthy diet and schedule routine dental cleanings with your dentist twice per year.