Dental fillings are super common, yet a lot of people aren’t entirely clear on what fillings are made of, how fillings are placed in the teeth, and when they can be used to fix a tooth.
Want to learn more about dental fillings so that you can be better prepared the next time you see your dentist to have your cavities filled? We’ve outlined the ins and outs of fillings below.
When you head to the dentist for a checkup, he or she will examine your teeth and take x-rays to look for signs of decay and damage. If you’re diagnosed with a cavity, if a tooth is cracked or broken, or if there are indications that your teeth are worn down, a dental filling can be used to salvage the tooth and restore its strength.
There are several different materials that can be used to successfully fill in any areas of decay within a tooth. Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you so that you can choose the one you’d prefer.
You might be nervous about having your teeth filled, especially if it’s your first time going through it, but rest assured that this is a very common procedure that dentists perform every day. In fact, once you’re finished, you might realize that it wasn’t as bad as you had imagined it would be.
Note: if you’re too stressed and anxious and you can’t seem to calm yourself down no matter how hard you try, talk to your dentist about sedation options that can help you relax while you're getting your cavities filled. Ahh, that’s better.
To help you prepare for what’s ahead, we’ve outlined the basic steps that are involved when a dentist places a filling in a tooth:
Shortly after your filling is complete, you can expect that the anesthetic will wear off and you’ll regain sensation in your mouth.
Your dentist will give you instructions regarding how long you should wait before chewing on the side of your mouth where a filling was placed.
Something to be aware of: sensitivity may occur after a tooth is filled. You might find that cold or sweet foods and drinks, pressure, or air cause sensitivity, and this tends to be more common with composite fillings.
If you experience sensitivity, tell your dentist. You might be advised to wait it out, as the sensitivity could hang around for a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t go away, though, it might be caused by a filling that’s too high and needs to be adjusted, or there might be another problem that needs to be addressed to bring you relief.
Unfortunately, dental fillings won’t last forever. Depending upon the material that was used, a filling could last for many years without causing any problems, but be aware that it might fall out, crack, leak, or simply become worn out over time. On top of that, fillings might even be damaged by clenching and grinding your teeth. By simply visiting your dentist regularly for checkups, you’ll be able to stay on top of your fillings and have them replaced as soon as they need to be.
The price of dental fillings will depend on several factors, such as the material that's used. Thankfully, dental insurance can help bring out-of-pocket costs down so you don’t have to break the bank to fix your teeth. Plus, with the right policy, such as those offered by Spirit, you can get three cleanings per year so you can take an additional step towards keeping those pearly whites cavity-free.
See? Dental fillings are pretty straightforward and nothing to fear! Your dentist will guide you through the entire process so you can make the best decisions for your teeth, and you can rest easy knowing that fillings are a great way to restore—and, therefore, save—a tooth that’s showing signs of decay.