You never want to hear that you have a cavity. Not only can they be painful, but they can escalate into much more serious issues. Fortunately, getting a cavity filled is a fairly simple process that can help to prevent the progression of tooth decay. Many people avoid seeing the dentist because they are worried about having dental work done. Understanding what happens when you get a cavity filled can help prevent undue anxiety regarding the process. Here at Mount Ogden Dental & Implant Clinic, we are passionate about caring for the health of your smile. We offer an array of services to optimize the health and appearance of your teeth. If you ever notice the formation of a cavity in your teeth, you should contact our office immediately.
Does Filling a Cavity Hurt?
The leading cause of dental anxiety is an aversion to pain. This is perfectly understandable. It is also why many people wonder whether having their cavity filled will hurt. The cavity filling process is intended to be easy and comfortable. It uses a local anesthesia to numb the area where any drilling will occur. This prevents the patient from feeling any pain throughout the process of having their cavity filled. In addition, the extent of the cavity filling will depend on the degree of decay. Getting a cavity filled as soon as it occurs will minimize any pain, as well as any relevant expenses for dental work.
There may be small amounts of discomfort or soreness following any dental procedure. Your jaw remains open for an extended period of time, so fatigued jaw muscles are very common. In addition, the process of having a cavity filled involves drilling into a tooth. This drilling can easily irritate the nerve of the tooth, which can result in enhanced sensitivity following the procedure. Not only should you avoid extremely hot foods until after the anesthesia has worn off completely, but you should consider avoiding either hot or cold foods until any sensitivity has alleviated.
Types of Fillings
There are many types of fillings. The different types are used for different purposes, last for different lengths of time, and come with varying expenses. Amalgam fillings, commonly known as silver fillings, are made of a combination of metals. It is one of the most economical options for fillings and is used most commonly on the teeth at the back of the mouth, as they provide a rather obvious appearance. Conversely, gold fillings provide many of the same benefits, though they are far more expensive. Gold fillings are rarely used, as other fillings are often more economic.
Composite fillings are growing in popularity, as these kinds of fillings are tooth-colored and can match the color of the surrounding teeth. This kind of filling is made from powdered glass quartz, silica, or other ceramic particles. They don’t last as long as amalgam fillings, but they provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Another option for natural-looking fillings is porcelain or ceramic fillings. These fillings tend to be more expensive than composite alternatives. Glass ionomer fillings are used most often for children with changing teeth, as they don’t last very long or match particularly well with the teeth. They do, however, release fluoride, which can go a long way toward protecting the teeth from further decay.
How Long Does a Cavity Filling Last?
Your teeth are exposed to a significant amount of pressure from chewing, which causes them to wear down over time. The same thing applies to cavity fillings. The amount of time that a cavity filling lasts will depend primarily on the material that is being used for the filling. Glass ionomers are rarely used, because they typically don’t last any longer than 5 years. Composite fillings are slightly more durable and generally last between 5 and 7 years. Ceramic fillings are even more durable than composite alternatives and they tend to last up to 15 years. Gold fillings can last from 15-30 years and amalgam fillings often last between 10-15 years. The total amount of time that your cavity filling lasts will also depend on how well you take care of it, so it is important to follow all of your dentist’s instructions for properly caring for your filling.
The Process of Having a Cavity Filled
Ensuring that you understand the process of having your cavity filled can help to alleviate your concerns regarding an impending cavity filling. At the beginning of having a cavity filled, your dentist will apply a localized anesthetic to the affected area. When the area has been numbed, the dentist will then use a drill to remove the decay out of the cavity of the tooth. After this, there may be bacteria and debris still present in the cavity. This will have to be removed prior to filling in the cavity. Following this, the filling will be placed, and the dentist will buff and polish the area. Certain types of fillings may require additional steps, as well.
Contact us to Care for your Cavity
It is vital to care for a cavity as soon as it forms to prevent the issue from escalating and protect your teeth. The costs associated with filling a cavity will be far less than that of a root canal. In fact, dental insurance tends to lean more toward a preventative approach. They are more likely to cover more of the cost of a dental filling than more extensive dental work.
It is important to follow all of the necessary processes to minimize the likelihood of cavities ever forming. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, visit your dentist regularly, and make sure that you floss every day. In addition, consult with your dentist if you are uncertain regarding the necessary steps to keep your teeth in the best possible condition. Our experts care about your oral health and will strive to provide you with the information that you need to protect the health of your teeth. To schedule your regular dental visit, contact us at Mount Ogden Dental and Implant Clinic today!