Certain tasks, such as proper brushing and flossing, eating a healthy diet, and having a professional dental exam, will help protect the look and health of your smile. Unfortunately, issues do arise, affecting your teeth and gums. An estimated 9 out of 10 Americans have cavities in their permanent teeth. This form of tooth decay will progressively become worse without treatment, increasing your risk of tooth loss.
Dental fillings are effective options for stopping the decay from spreading further. Even though it is so common, most people do not fully understand the process of filling cavities. If you need one or more fillings because of cavities, here are a few important things to know before your dental treatment.
The Process Is Probably More Involved Than You Think
You may be surprised to learn how involved the filling process can be.
A light anesthetic will need to be administered to numb your mouth. This ensures you do not experience any pain or discomfort during the filling. It is important to note that you still may feel some pressure as the dentist treats the cavities.
Dental tools are used to drill out the decaying matter from the cavity. The drill is basically a high-pressured spray of water. In addition, your dentist will use a suctioning tool to remove the decaying matter and any saliva that is lingering in your mouth during the treatment.
Once all of the infected, decaying matter is cleaned out of the tooth, the filling material can be placed.
There Are Different Types of Fillings Available
Another interesting fact you should know is that there are different types of materials available for filling your cavities. The type of filling you choose will be based around your specific needs, budget, and your dentist's recommendations.
Constructed out of a few different metallic elements, amalgam fillings are some of the most durable and common fillings used. Unfortunately, they are also noticeable if they are used in the front of your mouth, so most dentists suggest amalgam fillings for filling cavities located in your back molars.
If you need to fill a cavity in one of your front teeth, consider a composite material. Composite fillings consist of quartz or glass and are made to match your natural teeth. This ensures that your tooth is not only protected from further decay, but also that your tooth remains an unnoticeable part of your natural smile.
Porcelain or ceramic fillings are also options to consider because they will match the color of your teeth. Ceramic is not as durable as amalgam or composite. These fillings can also be one of the more expensive options.
Finally, you can choose from a gold or silver filling. Again, since they are metals, gold and silver fillings will stand out against your teeth, affecting the look of your smile. Because they are so durable, metal fillings are also the most expensive material offered by your dentist.
Proper Care Is Imperative After Receiving Fillings
Dental fillings may restore a decaying tooth back to health, but proper oral hygiene is imperative to protect the function and look of your fillings and underlying oral health.
Make sure to brush and floss your teeth as normal. Use gentle motions, since your teeth and gum tissue may be sore and inflamed after the dentist fills your cavities.
Reduce your intake of hard and sticky foods for a few days because the filling material will need time to harden properly. Avoid biting down on any food using the teeth that were just treated. This will protect the filling agent, helping the teeth heal in a more efficient manner.
Dental fillings may be a common procedure, but you may not be familiar or prepared for your filling. This guide will help you understand the process before your dentist restores your teeth back to a healthy state. Contact a dental office for additional advice.