What is a Dental Filling?

If you’ve never had a filling before, you may be wondering what it is and why your dentist is recommending one. A filling is basically used to treat a small hole, or a cavity, in the tooth. Essentially the dentist will remove any decaying tooth tissue and fill the gap with the filling material – which could be amalgam, composite resin, glass-ionomer cement, gold, porcelain or a sealant.

These holes in your teeth form through bacteria in your mouth making acids that attack the enamel on your tooth. If you regularly have dental health checks, it is likely these holes will be picked up when they are small and easy to deal with. If left for too long, they can cause a large hole or destruction of the tooth.

Benefits of a Filling

There are of course benefits to your oral health to have fillings done, and it generally doesn’t take too long.

Prevents cavities getting bigger

As long as you get to your dentist early, they can clean out any decaying parts of your tooth, and seal the hole with a filling. This stops your nerve receptors becoming exposed to temperatures of foods and drinks (which can cause pain), and helps to stop the acidity from the bacteria in your mouth causing further damage.

Prevents teeth from decay

We know that cavities are caused by the bacteria in your mouth, but once a hole is already in your tooth, it can be made worse by trapped particles of food. Filling the cavity can prevent further tooth decay.

Makes the Natural Tooth Stronger

When your teeth have cavities they can get quite weak – after all, you’re missing some of your tooth. Composite resin fillings, as well as other filling materials can give you back the strength your teeth need to get through your day, without having to be careful of what you eat.

Helps fix broken teeth

Did you know that as you get older, your teeth get weaker? Aging can make you more susceptible to cracks and fractures, which can happen through chewing on something too hard, sports or accidental damage. If you have a crack or fracture in your tooth, a dentist can use a white composite to give the tooth back its strength.

Improve the appearance of your tooth

Over time, and with age, your teeth can become discoloured and stained through what you eat and drink (coffee and red wine being two big culprits). You can also lose the natural colour of your tooth if you grind your teeth when sleeping or at other times of the day. A composite filling can help your teeth look bright
again, giving you back a great smile.

Common Questions about Fillings

There are always some common questions surrounding fillings, so we thought we would share three of the most common ones we get asked.

How Long Does Numbness Last After a Dental Filling?

The majority of people experience some level of numbness after having a dental filling placed. This usually lasts for around two hours, but it can vary depending on the individual’s sensitivity to anesthetic drugs.

Are Dental Fillings Painful?

If you’re experiencing dental pain after a filling is placed, there are a few things you can do to make the situation more tolerable. First, talk to your dentist about the best treatment plan for you. Often, the insertion of a numbing agent can help alleviate any pain. If that doesn’t work, your dentist may prescribe medication to relieve pain.

Can You Eat After A Dental Filling?

Most people don’t have any issues eating right after having a dental filling done. However, it is always a good idea to check with your dentist first if you have any dietary restrictions.

What to do after your filling

  • There are some do’s and don’ts to follow after your filling is complete, and these are simply to ensure you don’t damage the work the dentist has done.
  • Don’t eat foods that require a lot of chewing. If you have had a metal filling, you may need to solid food for 24 hours after your appointment to allow the filling to set.
  • Don’t eat foods high in sugars as they can cause a film on the filling and allow new cavities to form.
  • Don’t eat hard foods that can break your filling, or sticky foods that can remove the filling.
  • Don’t drink beverages that can discolour composite fillings.
  • Do make a follow up appointment and attend it
  • Do contact your dental team if you feel ongoing pain or sensitivity
  • Do brush using a soft bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Remember to floss once a day.

Do you need a filling or are you suffering pain and discomfort? Schedule an appointment with the dental team at Road Dental and let’s see how we can help.