February 3, 2010

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are one of the ways dentists fix damaged teeth. They are the most common type of dental work.

Fillings are used for a number of reasons. If a small part of a tooth is lost or breaks, a filling can be used to build the tooth back to its normal shape. A white filling as an easy way for a dentist to fill a gap between teeth.

By far the most common reason for a filling is to fix part of a tooth that has decayed. If a dentist spots a cavity (an area where decay has set in), it is likely they will suggest a filling to stop the decay and keep the rest of your tooth healthy. This work is most often covered by dental insurance plans.

What to Expect if You Need a Filling

When you visit the dentist to have a cavity filled, you may have anxiety about the work. Some people fear that they will feel pain, while others find it hard to yield to the dentist. However, if done right, this work does not have to cause pain or worry.

A good dentist will let you take time in the chair to relax before they begin work. Once you are ready, the dentist will numb the area to be treated with an anesthetic. For very nervous patients, a numbing cream may be used before the anesthetic is injected. This will make sure you do not even feel the prick of the needle.

Once the area is numb, the dentist will begin their work. The first stage is to remove the decayed part of the tooth. Bacteria in the decayed part will lead to more decay if missed. The dentist will also wash away debris with a water jet. The use of suction during this phase helps ensure that you do not swallow the debris.

Once the tooth is clear of decay and cleaned, the dentist will pack the gap with an amalgam (metallic looking) or a composite (white, matched to the tooth’s surface) filling. This will harden in place to support the rest of the tooth and stop any more tooth decay.

A filling is the best and fastest way to prevent a small amount of decay from getting out of hand. If you have a cavity, you should see a dentist and get a filling, or you will need more costly work down the road.