We know nobody wakes up in the morning and looks forward to getting a tooth filled (except for maybe a dentist or dental hygienist), but it’s far more quick and painless than you might expect.
In fact, the worst part of any dental appointment is usually the anxiety leading up to it. At First Hill Dental Center, we firmly believe that the more patients know about dental health and procedures, the better overall dental health they will have.
This explains why we dedicate time to this general dentistry blog, and why we find it important to let patients know what to expect before, during, and after common dental procedures.
Below, we’ve outlined general information about tooth filling so that you can feel completely comfortable before your procedure.
Common Reasons for Tooth Fillings
Fillings are most commonly associated with cavities and tooth decay, but they can also help to treat a wider range of dental health issues.
Tooth fillings commonly treat:
- Small holes
- Fractured or chipped teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Receding tooth structure
Without routine dental check-ups, it can be nearly impossible to identify whether you need a tooth filled — until it becomes painful, sensitive, and visibly eroded. The best way to treat — and, better yet, to preempt — cavities involves these routine check-ups.
During a routine dentist appointment, your dentist will take x-rays and perform an examination of your teeth to check for any cavities or signs of early decay. From there, they will determine whether you would benefit from a tooth filling.
How The Tooth Filling Procedure Works
If you and your dentist decide that a filling is your best treatment option, here’s what to expect on the day of your procedure.
You should prepare to be at the dentist’s office for around an hour, though times may vary if you need more than one cavity filled.
Your dentist and a team of dental hygienists will first sanitize and numb your mouth, gums, and surrounding skin. Yes, this part does involve a needle. While we know this might elicit worry, we can’t stress enough how quick this part of the procedure really is. And, for perspective, it’s much better for the area to be numbed than to perform the treatment as a dentist would have in the 1800s!
As your mouth becomes numb, your dentist will begin to drill the decaying portion of your tooth and then seal a filling into place. This process is very quick, and you don’t feel any of it. We also set up communication signals with you beforehand, so you can always wave a hand or put a thumb up if you need to communicate with us for any reason.
At the end of the procedure, the numbed area of your mouth will remain numb for a few hours. You can eat or drink that same day, and you shouldn’t feel pain. If anything feels out of the ordinary or more painful than you expected, you can always call your dental office to make sure everything is okay.
Types of Cavity Fillings
Gone are the days of metal fillings. Instead, dentists now primarily rely on amalgam and composite fillings.
- Amalgam fillings: these fillings are strong and often used on back molars. They are made from a combination of metallic elements, and they are generally less expensive than other filling options.
- Composite fillings: also called resins, these fillings can match your natural tooth enamel and are made from glass or quartz.
No matter your filling type, your dentist will ensure that the filling does not compromise the integrity of your bite. This might involve shaving down some of the filling so that it fits less intrusively in your tooth.
Caring for Cavity Fillings
You don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary when it comes to maintaining your cavity filling. If anything, you want to recommit to an oral health care routine that involves brushing, flossing, rinsing, and annual check-ups.
First Hill Dental Center in Seattle
As a Seattle dentist office, First Hill Dental Center offers fillings, implants, cleanings, emergency dentistry, and much more.
Our team also specializes in pediatric dentistry, so you can schedule appointments for the whole family.
For a dentist in Seattle, contact First Hill Dental Center today!