Reviewed by Dr. Alan Baughman, DMD
Dental fillings are a common and effective way to treat cavities. They restore your tooth’s function and appearance while preventing further decay.
This blog post will discuss the dental filling procedure step-by-step, materials used, and tips for maintaining oral health.
Table of Contents
- Cavities: The Common Foe
- Amalgam vs. Composite Fillings
- Step-By-Step Dental Filling Procedure
- After the Filling
- Prevent Future Cavities
- Smile Big With Dental Fillings at Clearwater Dentistry
- Frequently Asked Questions
Cavities: The Common Foe
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when acid-producing bacteria in our mouths break down food particles, especially sugary foods. These acids weaken the enamel, causing damage to the tooth and potentially leading to tooth sensitivity, pain, or infection.
To protect the surrounding natural teeth and prevent further decay, dentists use dental fillings to fill the cavity. Fillings help restore the original tooth shape and ensure proper function, allowing you to chew and eat without pain.
Dental fillings are a standard and effective treatment for cavities that restore oral health. By removing the damaged area and filling it with a durable material, dental fillings can alleviate pain, prevent further decay, and restore the function and appearance of the affected tooth.
Amalgam vs. Composite Fillings
Before diving into the procedure, let’s look at the two most common types of tooth-filling materials: amalgam and composite.
Silver amalgam is a mixture of metals, including silver, tin, and mercury. Silver fillings are more affordable and last a long time, but their appearance can be noticeable and less aesthetically pleasing.
Composite fillings, also known as white fillings, are made of acrylic resin and powdered glass. They are tooth-colored, making them more discreet and cosmetically appealing.
Composite fillings offer many benefits over amalgam fillings:
- They are more aesthetically pleasing, as they match the color of your natural teeth.
- They require less removal of tooth structure, preserving more of your natural tooth.
- They bond directly to the tooth, providing additional support.
- They are mercury-free, which can be a consideration for those with allergies or concerns about mercury exposure.
Step-By-Step Dental Filling Procedure
1. Pre-Procedure Preparation
Before starting the dental filling procedure, your dentist or dental assistant will apply a topical anesthetic to numb the area around the affected tooth. Then an injection of local anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth or teeth that will be treated. This helps ensure a painless experience throughout the process.
2. Drill Away the Decay
Once the area is numb, your dentist will use a dental handpiece and bur to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. The dental handpiece and bur help remove bacteria and create space for the dental filling material.
3. Prep the Cavity
After the decay has been removed, your dentist will prepare the cavity by cleaning and shaping it. In the case of composite fillings, an acid gel is applied to the cavity to etch the tooth’s surface, allowing for better bonding with the composite material.
4. Fill the Cavity
The dental professional will then place the composite filling material inside the cavity, layer by layer. They will apply a special bonding light after each layer to ensure proper hardening of the material.
5. Shape and Polish
Once the cavity is filled, the dentist will shape the filling to mimic the natural contour of your tooth. The filling is then polished to ensure a smooth surface and prevent discomfort or sensitivity when biting down.
After the Filling
After the dental filling procedure, it is normal to experience some pain or sensitivity, which should subside within a few days. Here are some tips to help ease any discomfort after getting a filling:
- Avoid consuming hot or cold foods for the first 24 hours.
- Stick to soft foods until your mouth fully heals.
- If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, contact your dentist immediately.
Prevent Future Cavities
To prevent future cavities, take the following steps to maintain your oral health:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush twice daily.
- Floss every night before brushing your teeth to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks, as they contribute to tooth decay.
- Use mouthwash to help freshen your breath and kill bacteria.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and dental cleanings.
Read our blog, The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups and Cleanings, to learn how they play a role in cavity prevention.
Smile Big With Dental Fillings at Clearwater Dentistry
Nobody enjoys going to the dentist, especially when it involves getting fillings. Dealing with dental cavities and decay can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. It’s important to find the right solution to restore your teeth’s health.
At Clearwater Dentistry, our skilled dentist, Dr. Baughman, uses advanced techniques and the highest-quality composite dental fillings. This ensures that each filling is solid and durable enough to provide long-lasting protection for your teeth. Our BPA-free fillings are tooth-colored, allowing them to blend in with your natural teeth seamlessly.
If you are searching for composite fillings in Greeley, CO, visit Clearwater Dentistry. To find out why we are the best dentist in Greeley, CO, call (970) 515-3550 or complete the online booking form. Say goodbye to the discomfort and hello to a beautiful smile!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can brush your teeth after a composite filling. After a composite filling is placed you may brush your teeth normally, as the material is completely hardened after placement. There is no need to wait to brush your teeth after a composite filling.
You can eat once the numbness in your mouth wears off. However, stick to soft foods for the first 24 hours to prevent any discomfort or damage to the filling.
It is possible to get a filling without anesthesia, but it may be uncomfortable or painful. Discuss your pain tolerance with your dentist and determine the best option for you.
The numbness in your mouth should wear off within a few hours of the procedure. However, it may take longer for some individuals, depending on the dosage and type of anesthesia used.
If you are searching for composite fillings near me, trust the experts at Clearwater Dentistry.