Why Do I Need a Filling?

If your dentist has just told you that you have a cavity, they may have also suggested a filling. You might consider some dental procedures to be unnecessary and question your dentist’s recommendation. You may simply want to avoid any discomfort or a drill in your mouth. Regardless of the reason, fillings are generally necessary to keep your mouth healthy. 

A filling will fill a cavity—a decayed portion of your tooth. Cavities create small holes in the enamel of your tooth. The enamel is the layer on the outside of your tooth that provides protection to the inner part of your tooth. If you do not treat a cavity, it will burrow further into the tooth. 

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What Is the Dental Filling Process?

One of the first steps of treating a cavity is a dental x-ray. Your dental team will need to assess the damage in your tooth and make sure that it hasn’t progressed more than what they can see with their eyes. 

Before beginning your procedure, your dentist will numb the area to make sure that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. Many dentists will put a numbing gel on your gums before they inject the local anesthetic. This will remove all sensations that could create pain, but you may still be able to feel pressure. Not to worry! Getting a filling is typically a simple, pain-free process.

Next, your dentist will begin by drilling into your tooth and removing the decayed materials. Here, your dentist will evaluate how much filling to place in your tooth and if they need any other measures to protect your teeth. 

Once the decayed material is gone, your tooth will be filled with a resin that will support the remaining tooth structure. It will also protect the inner layers of your tooth (the dentin and pulp). These contain the tooth’s sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels. 

Depending on the type of filling, your dentist may need to cure the material in order for it to set. With the filling set and solid, your dentist will shape the filling in order for it to fit with your other teeth. This may require a small amount of filing. But you will still be numb from the anesthetic and won’t feel it. 

If you do feel pain after your procedure, you should contact your dentist immediately because there may have been some nerve damage. While you may experience some discomfort, you shouldn’t be in extreme pain for a simple procedure. 

What Does a Filling Prevent?

Fillings can prevent larger issues before they begin. A cavity that is left untreated can cause a chain reaction of needing more invasive procedures to stop infection. Infection can spread to your gums and other teeth, and it can even spread throughout your body. 

A filling is the first step in prevention once decay is spotted. Since it is a simple, routine procedure, it can save you a lot of pain and money in the long run.