No one likes to hear “you have a cavity” when they visit the dentist. That said, if you think you might have a cavity, it is important to see your dentist straight away to prevent further damage to the tooth. If you’ve never had a filling before, here are a few quick things you should know about the procedure.
1. Not all fillings are created equal.
There are multiple different materials that can be used to fill a cavity after the decay has been removed from your tooth. Amalgam fillings, for example, look silver (though they’re made from a mixture of silver, tin, and mercury) and have been used for over 150 years! Another option would be gold fillings, though they have become less and less popular due to their expense and the difficulty of working with the material. Composite resin fillings and ceramic fillings, on the other hand, are tooth-colored. Composite is the easier option to work with, as ceramic requires special equipment.
2. Your dentist can use multiple methods to detect tooth decay.
There are a few different methods that are available to help your dentist detect tooth decay. The first is by using a small metal instrument called an explorer to locate any softer dental enamel, which is indicative of tooth decay. Cavities can also be detected using an x-ray as well. There are also methods such as cavity-detecting dye and laser fluorescence cavity aids, which make cavities more visible to your practitioner.
3. Fillings can salvage your tooth and prevent further decay.
If left untreated, cavities can create serious oral health issues. Tooth decay not only causes pain, but it can lead to abscesses—painful infections that can affect the root of the tooth and even lead to bone loss. Therefore, to stop the progression of the decay and salvage your natural tooth, it is important to repair the tooth with a filling as soon as possible.
4. The procedure is simple and pain-free.
The fillings procedure is nothing to worry about. Your dentist will numb the area with a topical anesthetic before injecting a local anesthetic to the site. When your mouth is completely numb, your dentist will work to remove the decay and shape the area with a drill. Once the area is properly prepared, they will then seal the space with a filling. To finish the procedure, they will polish the tooth and make sure your bite is comfortable!
5. You may have a slight recovery period.
It is important to note that your mouth could feel slightly numb for a few hours after your procedure—this is completely normal after having a local anesthetic. Therefore, be certain not to have hot foods in order to avoid the risk of burning your mouth. You could also experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures after having your procedure, but this should go away after a few days or even a few weeks. You may also find, after the numbness dissipates, that your filling is slightly raised over the rest of your bite. Should this occur, be certain to call your dentist right away to have the issue repaired.
Are you ready to have your painful tooth decay remedied? Call Oradent Associates in Lincolnwood today!