Do your teeth have cavities? Then you know what you need. Everyone knows fillings are something you get to fix cavities. Beyond that, however, you might not know much about cavity fillings at all. You may even believe some common misconceptions. For whatever reason, fillings have a strangely overblown reputation as painful, serious, or extremely negative.
Here’s how fillings work, why they’re not a big deal, and why you shouldn’t hesitate to get one.
Exam: The first step in the dental filling procedure is to inspect the teeth to decide upon the best course of action for the patient. A dental filling is best suited for minor fractures and decay; for more severe cases other types of restorative dental treatment, such as a dental crown or implant, may be necessary. A dentist can examine teeth with a dental probe and caries detecting liquid to investigate problematic areas. An X-ray may also be used to determine more precise information regarding the location and severity of the decay.
Anesthetic: The procedure starts by administering a local anesthetic so that the area around the affected tooth becomes numb.
Removing the decay: Next, the decayed or damaged tooth and its surrounding areas should be prepared for restoration. A dental hand-piece or laser may be used to remove the damaged parts of the tooth. An acid gel is used to cleanse the area to remove any remaining bacteria or debris. Removing the decay prevents further damage, but it doesn’t fix the damage to the tooth that already occurred. That’s where fillings come in.
Filling the tooth: Most dentists make today’s fillings from composite resin. Fillings work by replacing the part of the tooth destroyed by tooth decay. The dentist molds them to match the shape of the surrounding tooth. They restore the strength and integrity of the tooth and prevent decay from re-entering the vulnerable area.
Polishing and bite: Finally, the finished tooth can be polished to conclude the dental filling procedure. Bite is adjusted as you want to feel normal while you chew or close your mouth.