A filling is commonly done if there is decay present within your tooth. Placing a filling prevents the decay from spreading further. It also helps to repair minor cracks or chips in your teeth. In addition, your dentist may also recommend that you replace your old amalgam silver fillings with white fillings. This is because amalgam fillings are made of metal and may produce cracks in your teeth over time.
Dental fillings are a suitable procedure when there is a small to moderate amount of decay. By doing this, you will still retain most of your natural tooth. Essentially, they replace the tooth structure lost.
However, it may be different if you have a large amount of decay or if you have most of your tooth structure missing. In this case, your dentist may advise you to get a crown done instead as your tooth may be susceptible to fracture.
For your convenience, our team has outlined what happens during a filling and some other key facts about the treatment.
What happens during a filling?
A filling is described as a simple procedure which involves placing, shaping and hardening dental bonding material (1).
Firstly, your dentist will apply a numbing gel on your gum. This will help to numb your gum in preparation for the local anesthetic to be inserted into the same area. It may take a few minutes for the anesthetic to set in before your tooth will be fully numb and pain free during the procedure. If you do experience any pain or sensitivity during treatment, please let your dentist know immediately.
Once you are numb, your dentist will begin to remove the decay or old filling materials within your tooth. After the decay has been removed, a filling material such as composite resin or glass ionomer will be placed. The material is placed into the space left behind by the decay.
Your dentist will carefully shaped the filling to fit the tooth structure lost. Once your dentist is happy with the shape, a UV light will usually be used to set the material. As a result, the material becomes a similar hardness to that of your tooth. Following this, your dentist will shape the filling so that it is comfortable and functional. Finally, your filling with be polished to ensure that there are no sharp or crooked edges protruding from the filling.
Can you eat after a filling?
Following your treatment, your dentist will advise you to be careful about eating while numb. You should be careful about having anything overly hot as you may scald yourself while you are numb, e.g. hot coffee. You should also be careful about chewing as it is easy to chew your lip while numb, resulting in tissue trauma.
How long does the procedure take?
The length of your filling treatment may vary as it depends on the complexity of the treatment. Depending on your case, your appointment may go for around 30 minutes to an hour. The dentist will inform you of the time needed to complete your filling(s) at your treatment planning session and your treatment plan will be printed or emailed to you.
It is important to look after your filling the same way you would look after your teeth, by practicing good oral hygiene methods every day. It is recommended that you brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss once a day to maintain your oral health.
General Dental Gold Coast
If your tooth is showing signs of decay or you would like to restore a damaged tooth, contact our friendly staff today to arrange a visit with one of our experienced dentists.
- Vasiliu, S., Racovita, S., Gugoasa, I. A., Lungan, M. A., Popa, M., & Desbrieres, J. (2021). The Benefits of Smart Nanoparticles in Dental Applications. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(5), 2585. Retrieved From: https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/5/2585/htm