Fillings are needed when bacteria has entered a tooth and led to tooth decay. Your dentist will pick the proper filling material, based on several factors, to help restore your tooth back to the normal shape and function.
There are many types of fillings available to repair teeth such as Composite, Amalgam, Gold, Ceramic, and Glass Ionomer. Obviously, made from different materials, each one has a specific purpose for the location of the cavity, the type of cavity, personal sensitivities to materials, price, etc.
Filling a Cavity
Typically, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic, like Lidocaine, to reduce any pain that may occur. Your dentist will then remove any decay using a drill or laser and shape the space to prepare for filling. This is important because different fillings require different shaping to secure the material. Your dentist may also apply a base or liner inside to the tooth to protect the pulp. Depending on the type of material used, there may other steps involved to set the filling and ensure its strength. After the filling is in place, your dentist will then finish and polish the surface.
You may experience a variety of side effects once the anesthesia wears off. Many people experience numbness, tingling or minor pain around the injection site. These effects typically wear off within a few hours of the procedure. You may also experience sensitivity to pressure, sweet foods, cold or hot food, liquids or even air. Most sensitivities decrease within one to two weeks after the procedure. If sensitivity doesn’t subside or becomes more pronounced you will want to see your dentist.
Another common reason for pain could be the filling is a bit too high. This effects the bite and muscles in the jaw. Your dentist can adjust the filling by checking the occlusion (bite) of your teeth and remove any high spots or excess material to relieve the pain.
Some people can experience a galvanic shock after a filling. This less common discomfort occurs when two different metals touch, say if you had a new amalgam filling with a gold crown above the same spot.
Fillings can be a source of stress for children and adults alike. Speaking with your pediatric dentist beforehand will help to alleviate any anxiety about the procedure once you know what to expect. Be sure to talk with your dentist afterwards if you experience abnormal pain or discomfort. And remember, treating dental decay early is the best way to protect your smile. Regular visits to the dentist will help to lessen the surprise of needing fillings.
source: “Fillings”, www.colgate.com, Web. June 22nd, 2018.
For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.