Tooth filling is a remedy for cavities or holes in your teeth stemming from tooth decay. Its primary purpose is to halt further damage, prevent tooth loss, and eliminate the potential for pain or infections.
While receiving a filling may entail some discomfort, it shouldn’t cause pain. Should you experience significant or prolonged pain during or after the procedure, it’s essential to inform your dentist promptly.
In the following sections, we’ll delve into the materials used in dental fillings, providing insights into the procedure’s intricacies. We’ll also discuss the cost associated with fillings and offer guidance on when to contact your dentist after the treatment.
Why Will You Require a Tooth Filling?
Several factors can necessitate a tooth filling, such as tooth decay, fractures, chips, or replacing an old filling.
You might require a filling if you experience
- Feeling a sensation in your tooth when you eat or drink hot or cold items.
- The presence of a noticeable dark spot or hole in your tooth.
- A persistent toothache.
- Challenges with flossing, including the thread tearing or getting stuck between your teeth.
What Are the Various Types of Tooth Filling?
Dental fillings come in various types, each with its unique characteristics:
- Amalgam Fillings: Made from a silver amalgamation of metals like copper, tin, and mercury, these fillings are particularly suitable for back molars due to their durability and long-lasting nature.
- Composite Fillings: Composed of a tooth-colored resin and glass mixture, composite fillings blend seamlessly with your natural teeth, making them less conspicuous.
- Glass Ionomer Fillings: Another tooth-colored option, glass ionomer fillings are crafted from powdered glass that bonds with your teeth. They even release fluoride, aiding in the prevention of further tooth decay.
- Gold Fillings: These fillings consist of a durable alloy, including copper, gold, and other metals. Gold fillings are renowned for longevity, often lasting 20 years or more.
While resin-based composite and glass ionomer fillings are less robust than amalgam, they offer the advantage of being less noticeable and free from heavy metals. It’s worth noting that resin-based fillings can be pricier and may contract over time, potentially creating gaps between the filling and the tooth, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Tooth Filling Process
Diagnosis & Examination
When you visit your dentist, they will take a good look at your teeth; sometimes, they might use X-rays to see inside them. They do this to find out if there are any holes in your teeth or if your teeth are damaged. The dentist figures out how bad the problem is, and this helps them decide what kind of filling your tooth needs.
Anesthesia & Numbing
Before the dentist fixes your tooth, they ensure you won’t feel any pain. They do this by giving you a special numbing medicine in the area where they’re going to work. This medicine makes the area go to sleep, so you won’t feel anything while the dentist works on your tooth. You can relax because it won’t hurt at all.
To fix your tooth, the dentist has to remove the part that’s damaged or has a hole. They use special tools to do this carefully. Afterward, they clean your tooth and make its shape right for the filling. It’s like getting your tooth ready to wear a new suit.
Now comes the part where your tooth gets its new filling. The dentist picks the suitable filling material and puts it into the space where they remove the bad part. For some fillings, like the tooth-colored ones, they add it in layers and use a special light to make it hard and strong.
Bite Check & Adjustment
The dentist wants to make sure your teeth fit together correctly when you bite down. They check this by asking you to bite on something special. If things don’t fit right, they make small changes to your new filling so that your teeth feel comfortable when you bite down. This way, your tooth will work just like it should.
Tooth Filling Process — Aftercare & Recovery
Eating & Drinking
Sometimes, the dentist might tell you not to eat or drink anything until the numb feeling in your mouth goes away. They do this so you don’t accidentally bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek.
Tooth Pain After the Filling
You might feel a little bit of soreness or discomfort after getting a filling. If that happens, you can take over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). It should help with the pain.
Sometimes, though, your teeth might not fit together quite right because of the new filling. It can make your mouth feel uncomfortable. Don’t worry; the dentist can fix this issue to stop the discomfort.
Tooth Sensitivity After the Filling
After the tooth filling process, you might notice increased sensitivity in your teeth to hot and cold things. It can happen because the filling process might have slightly irritated the nerves in your tooth or gums. It can also be due to some swelling caused by the dentist’s work.
Understanding the tooth filling process is essential for anyone facing dental issues. Work closely with your dentist to ensure a painless and successful experience. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene and attending regular dental check-ups is important to prevent the need for fillings in the first place.
Your smile is an invaluable asset; modern dentistry has made preserving it a comfortable and accessible journey. Ready to schedule an appointment? You can contact University Ave Dental at 763.784.1242 to book your appointment at our Blaine, MN, office.
How long does a tooth filling last?
Fillings made from metal or gold can stay in your teeth for a long time, often over 20 years. But if you have fillings made from newer stuff like porcelain, they should last a while, though usually not more than ten years. Composite resin, which many people like because it looks natural, isn’t as strong and might not last as long as the others.
How much does a tooth filling cost?
Here’s a general idea of how much different types of fillings might cost you:
- Silver amalgam fillings: Usually around $50 to $150 for one.
- Tooth-colored composite fillings: typically between $90 to $250 for one.
- Fancy cast-gold or porcelain fillings: These can be expensive, ranging from $250 to $4,500 for a single filling.
On average, you might expect to pay around $100 to $150 for a filling, but the cost can vary depending on the material used.
Can a tooth filling cause nerve damage?
When a filling needs to go deeper into your tooth, there’s a higher chance of it affecting the inner part of your tooth, called the pulp. This part has nerves and blood vessels. If the decay has gone deep and reached the pulp while your dentist removes the bad stuff, they might accidentally touch a nerve, which can be uncomfortable.