Dental Fillings: 6 Things to Watch Out For

Why you should get a dental filling

Dental fillings are a quick and convenient way to treat tooth decay or fractured teeth. It only takes one session in a dentist's chair to get a tooth filled. And the session does not take very long; on average, the dentist will take about an hour to fill a tooth.

If you think that you need to get a dental filling, here is what you should expect:

1. The evaluation

When a person walks into the dentist's office with a toothache, the dentist will do a visual exam of the problem tooth. They might also take an X-ray if they think the tooth is damaged below the gum line. During the evaluation, the dentist will go through the patient's dental and medical history.

After the dentist settles on a dental filling as a restoration method, they will help the patient to choose a filling material. For the back teeth, the dentist may recommend gold or silver fillings. For the front teeth, the dentist will recommend either dental resin or porcelain fillings.

Once the dentist and patient settle on a filling, the procedure begins.

2. Anesthetic

The dentist will numb the tooth, usually with a local anesthetic. If the patient has a bad reaction to certain numbing drugs, the dentist will make adjustments.

The anesthetic will allow the patient to go through the process without feeling any pain, and the numbness will be felt for a few hours after the procedure. For this reason, the patient should arrange for transportation from the dentist's office. During this time, the patient should also avoid situations that will require them to talk or eat.

Numbness that lasts for more than five hours should be cause for worry, and a person should see a doctor to have the anesthetic counteracted.

3. Drilling and filling

With the tooth numbed, the dentist will use a dental drill to remove damaged or decayed tooth tissue. They will then clean all debris from the tooth and proceed to apply dental filling.

After the filling has been shaped, hardened and finished, the patient will go home with a newly restored tooth.

4. Sensitivity

After the tooth has been restored and the numbness has gone away, a person may experience some mild pain and sensitivity. This is nothing to worry about; it is normal to feel discomfort for up to 48 hours after a filling has been put in. Over-the-counter painkillers will help manage this discomfort.

If a person still feels pain and tooth sensitivity after a few days, they should see a dentist to find out why.

5. Aftercare

Immediately after the procedure, a person should stick to soft foods until the discomfort goes away. And as for caring for the restored tooth, brushing and flossing twice a day will keep the filling in good condition. The patient should also use products that contain fluoride to keep the teeth healthy.

6. Durability

On average, dental fillings last between three and seven years, although metal and porcelain fillings have been known to last much, much longer.

That said, a person should see a dentist immediately if they see any of the following:

  • Loosening
  • Chipping of the filled tooth
  • Discoloration
  • Tooth sensitivity

Dental fillings are great for small problems

If your tooth has a small chip or cavity, then a dental filling is a good way to repair it. Dental fillings are a simple procedure that the dentist can do in no time flat. Fillings are easy to care for, and in the case of gold or silver fillings, they can last a lifetime.

Need dental fillings?

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