Getting a cavity may feel like a mild embarrassment, but the truth is that this dental condition is pretty common. Though good brushing habits can help prevent tooth decay, studies show that around 92% of adults between the ages of 20 to 64 have had at least one cavity.
If you’re worried about getting a filling, however, it’s worth noting that this procedure is incredibly common. Whether or not you’re experiencing tooth pain, the benefits of getting a filling far outweigh the short-term costs, so it’s important to follow through with your dental appointment.
Knowing what to expect from your procedure, as well as a few additional things to keep in mind, can help you feel calmer on the big day. Here’s what you should know.
What Happens When You’re Getting a Filling?
When you’re getting a cavity filled, you can expect your dentist to first remove the decayed parts of your tooth. They’ll use special tools to drill through your enamel and remove the decay.
In order to prevent pain during the procedure, your dentist will also give you a local anesthetic. You should only feel the pressure of the drill, so if you experience pain, make sure your dentist knows at once.
Once the decay is gone, your dentist will fill your tooth with your material of choice, as we’ll discuss below.
What Types of Fillings Can You Choose From?
Though most people opt for fillings that mimic the natural look of your tooth, there are many different types of materials available for fillings.
- Composite resin: mimic the look of your teeth, with a lifespan of around 5 years
- Silver amalgam: strong and durable, though they may expand and contract over time
- Gold: strong and non-corrosive, with a lifespan of up to 15 years
- Ceramic: made of porcelain, with a lifespan of 7 years or longer
Depending on your teeth, your budget, and your personal preferences, your dentist can help you understand the best options for your filling.
What Should You Know About Recovery and Side Effects?
With most fillings done by experts like The Dental Team, you can expect few to no side effects. The numbing sensation of the anesthetic wears off in a few hours, and you will often be able to eat and drink as usual soon after, though it’s best to follow the specific advice of your dentist. You may also experience some mild pain after the procedure, though this often goes away within 24 hours.
However, in rare cases, you may experience additional side effects. If your pain worsens, or if you have difficulty biting or chewing, it’s important to let your dentist know.
In addition, you’ll want to be gentle with your filled tooth in the future, as they will always be weaker than your natural teeth. Be gentle when you chew, avoid biting down on hard foods, and watch for any signs of a space developing between your tooth and the filling in your mouth.
Take Good Care of Your Teeth
Getting a filling may seem intimidating—whether it’s your first time or you’re a repeat patient—but knowing what to expect can help. Your dentist can help prepare you for your procedure and give you specific information to ease any worries, so be sure to reach out to them with questions and concerns!
Want more key tips to make the most of your health? Be sure to take a look at our other content for more guides like this one.