Dental fillings are a common procedure that many people undergo every year. In fact, according to various sources, over 90% of adults in the United States have had at least one dental filling. So, the chances are good that you will need a filling at some point in your life.
For some people, the thought of getting a dental filling is not very appealing, mostly because they assume that the procedure will hurt. But do fillings really hurt? The answer is, “not usually.” In this blog post, we will explain what a dental filling is, when it is necessary, and how dental anesthetics make the process painless. We’ll also dispel some common myths about fillings! So if you’re curious about fillings, keep reading!
What is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling is a procedure in which a dentist removes decay from a tooth and then fills the cavity that is left behind with a material. In the past, the most common type of filling material was amalgam, which is made up of various metals (including silver, mercury, tin, and copper). Nowadays, however, many dentists used composite fillings instead.
A composite filling is a type of dental filling that is made of plastic and glass. It is often used to fill cavities in the front teeth, because it matches the color of the teeth very well. However, advancements have also made this material strong enough to use in the back teeth as well. Composite fillings offer a variety of benefits compared to amalgam fillings, which is why they are becoming the most common type of filling.
When is a filling necessary?
Dental fillings are necessary when a tooth has been damaged by decay. When decay is present in a tooth, it means that the tooth’s enamel (the hard outer layer) has been breached and bacteria have entered the inner layers of the tooth. If left untreated, decay can spread and eventually lead to an infection.
Dental fillings protect teeth from decay by filling in the hole that is left behind when decay is removed. This stops the bacteria from entering the tooth and causing further damage. In addition, dental fillings also restore the tooth’s strength and stability, which can help prevent future decay from occurring.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
There are several symptoms that can indicate that you have tooth decay and may need a dental filling:
- Toothache: This is perhaps the most obvious symptom of tooth decay. If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, it may be due to decay.
- Sensitivity: If your tooth is sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, it may be an early sign of decay.
- Visible Holes: If you can see holes in your teeth, this is a sure sign that you have decay and will need a filling.
- Staining: If your teeth are stained or discolored, this may be another sign of decay.
The Process of Getting a Dental Filling
If your dentist has determined that you need a dental filling, the next step is to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. This will ensure that you do not feel any pain during the procedure.
Once the area is numb, your dentist will use a drill to remove the decay from your tooth. Once all of the decay has been removed, your dentist will clean the cavity to kill off any excess bacteria. They will then fill the cavity with the chosen filling material. For composite fillings, a special curing light will then be used to harden the material.
After the filling material has been placed, your dentist will polish it so that it blends in with the rest of your tooth. And that’s it! The entire process usually takes less than an hour and you will be able to go about your day as usual once you are finished. You may experience some numbness from the anesthetics, however this will only last a short time after your appointment.
Dental Anesthetics Make the Process Painless
One of the most common misconceptions about dental fillings is that they are painful. But as we explained above, the reality is that dental fillings are usually not painful at all. This is because of dental anesthetics, which numb the area around the tooth so that you do not feel any pain during the procedure.
In some cases, you may feel some residual soreness after having a filling placed. This pain is usually mild and does not require medications. It should also fade within a week or two of having the filling placed. If the pain continues to get worse or does not fade within two weeks, then you should contact your dentist. In some cases, pain after a filling could indicate a pulp infection or other problems with the filling.
In this blog, we answered the question, “Do fillings hurt?” We explained that dental fillings are usually not painful thanks to dental anesthetics. We also explained why fillings are necessary, the process of getting a filling, and what to expect after having one placed. If you have any questions or concerns about dental fillings, be sure to contact your dentist. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks for reading!