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04/26/2024

Cavities Got You Down? Here’s What to Expect from Your Next Dental Filling Procedure

A dental filling is one of the most common treatments available at the dentist’s office. Dental fillings, which can be made up of a combination of metals, resins or other materials, are used to treat cavities or repair damaged teeth — making them essential for good oral health. However, despite being such a common — and essential — procedure, very few patients know exactly what to expect from their next filling appointment. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll take you through what happens during cavity filling procedures — as well as outline the various types of dental fillings that a dentist may use. So, let’s dive in.

What Is a Tooth Filling Procedure?

A tooth filling procedure is a standard solution for filling cavities or fixing teeth that have worn down over time due to excessive grinding. The teeth filling process is necessary to prevent the decay from spreading and, in the worst case, causing a loss of the teeth.
What is a Tooth Filling Procedure
Dental fillings can be made up of various types of materials, including:
  • Gold
  • Silver amalgams
  • Composite (a mix of resin and fillers) and resin)
  • Ceramic
  • Each of these materials has its own unique set of pros and cons. The cost of a dental filling procedure will also vary depending on the type of filling material used along with the size of the filling. To get an idea of which of these treatments are offered in Los Angeles, we recommend reaching out to a trusted dentist in Studio City.

    How Do Dental Fillings Work?

    When you have a cavity or a gap in your tooth, bacteria can reach the inner tooth structure, causing it to decay, leading to a lot of pain as decay gets closer to the nerve of the tooth. The process of a filling prevents the space from trapping more bacteria, debris, or food. This, in turn, stops the spread of tooth decay and prevents infections from developing.
    How Do Dental Fillings Work

    What Happens Before the Teeth Filling Process?

    During an initial tooth filling procedure appointment, a dental professional will carry out a series of tests to identify the issue and then suggest a course of action. The dentist will perform an in-depth oral examination to identify areas of decay and damage that need to be fixed. In some cases, they may even look out for cavities on radiographs (x-rays). Depending on your medical history and the outcomes of all of these tests, they will create a treatment plan for the tooth that needs to undergo a filling procedure. The doctor may also give you certain instructions on how to properly care for your teeth and gums prior to the appointment. This is crucial to prevent any complications from developing on the day of the procedure.

    How Do Dentists Fill Cavities?

    On the day of the appointment, the dentist will begin the cavity filling process by administering a local anesthetic if necessary. Once the area is numb, the doctor will use a drill, an abrasion instrument, or a laser to clean up any decay. The cavity is also cleaned of all bacteria and debris with the help of a specialized acid gel. After a quick inspection to ensure all decay and debris have been successfully removed, the dentist will prepare the filling material. Depending on your aesthetic preferences, budget, and specific needs, and the size of the decay, the dentist will decide which material works best for you. The next step of the cavity treatment procedure involves filling up the decayed area. The material is poured layer by layer into the cavity (now that it is free of decay) and carefully shaped. If a composite material is used, the dentist will harden it with a special light as it fills up the cavity. This ensures that the filling stays strong and durable.
    How Do Dentists Fill Cavities

    What Happens After the Tooth Filling Procedure?

    Once the material has been placed and hardened, the dentist will adjust and polish the filling to ensure it matches your natural teeth. This is a crucial part of the tooth filling process as it ensures the filling feels comfortable in your mouth. The dentist may also carry out a few checks of your bite to ensure the new tooth filling doesn’t interfere with your existing bite. Based on these inspections, minor adjustments will be made to ensure that your bite feels as natural as possible. The entire process of filling a cavity may take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the cavity. However, if you have more than one cavity, it may take a few sessions to ensure all decay is treated properly. Once the tooth filling procedure is complete, the dentist will leave you with aftercare instructions to maintain the integrity of the filling and prevent issues from developing.

    Tooth Filling Procedure: After Care

    Since in most cases patients are administered with local anesthesia, there should not be any feeling of pain during the cavity filling process. However, you may suffer from some mild sensitivity and soreness after the procedure. In most cases, this discomfort will subside after a few hours. However, sometimes, it can last for a couple of days. If your pain hasn’t gone down over two days after the appointment, plan another visit to your dentist for another inspection. But, provided you follow the proper aftercare instructions, this is an extremely unlikely outcome.
    Tooth Filling Procedure: After Care
    Here are some tips that can help you increase the durability of the filling material and prevent sensitivity and pain in the days following the process of tooth filling.
  • Brush with high-quality fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss at least once every day
  • Avoiding extremely hot and cold foods for a few days
  • Use Sensodyne toothpaste for sensitivity if your dentist advises
  • It’s also crucial to take steps to prevent any further cavities from developing. While following a good oral hygiene routine and bi-annual dental check-up visits certainly help in minimizing cavity formations (or detecting cavities as early as possible as they develop), adjusting your diet to minimize carbonated and high sugar foods/drinks intake helps in decreasing the risk of cavity formation.

    The Bottom Line

    Now that you know what happens during a filling, we hope you are more confident about your upcoming procedure. Alternatively, if you’re here looking for dental treatments in Valley Village, look no further than Valley Dental Spa. Our team of expert professionals has years of experience and knowledge of the various kinds of filling materials and the teeth filling process. Contact us next time you notice any cavities or broken teeth, and we’ll make sure you leave with a smile on your face.
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