Dental fillings are a way to restore a tooth's function and aesthetics. Dentists fill cavities with materials such as gold, silver, or porcelain. Occasionally, a mixture of these materials is used. If you're considering dental filling treatment, you may want to know a little more about this procedure. Today, we will discuss four dental filling facts you should know before going for this treatment.
1. There Will be Numbing Medication
Numbing medicine can be injected before or during an invasive dental procedure, such as a filling, to reduce pain and discomfort during treatment. It is also useful for procedures like tooth extractions, root canal treatment, crown placement, oral surgery, sutures, and more. A topical numbing agent can also be applied before the injection to reduce discomfort.
The anesthetic will wear off within a few hours, but it can still be uncomfortable to chew on certain foods for the first few days. However, this pain is usually mild and is manageable with over-the-counter pain medication.
2. There are Different Filling Materials Available
● Gold fillings: they are durable, lasting between 10 to 15 years, but they are more expensive than other filling materials. Most patients decide against this type of filling because of its color, preferring tooth-colored fillings.
● Silver fillings (Amalgam): they are durable, lasting between 10 to 15 years. It is considered the least expensive dental filling material, but its color is noticeable, and most patients opt for more aesthetically pleasing materials. Amalgam can also cause allergic reactions. A small percentage of people are allergic to the mercury present in it.
● Composite resin filling: despite having a shorter lifespan than gold and silver fillings, they are more aesthetically pleasing and preferred by most patients because they are tooth-colored. They are used not only for fillings but also to fix a broken or chipped tooth.
● Ceramics: they are often made of porcelain. They are more durable than composite resin, lasting an average of 15 years, but they tend to be very expensive.
● Glass ionomer: made of acrylic and a type of glass, they are often used in filling below the gum line and for children. This material is weaker than composite resin and prone to fracture.
3. A Filling Can Last Many Years
Depending on the material used, dental fillings typically need to be replaced after 10 to 20 years. The filling's lifespan is also affected by the patient's oral health. If there is gum disease, the filling can break down sooner. Additionally, the eating and drinking habits of the patient play a role in the life span. For instance, acidic and crunchy foods can cause a dental filling to break down faster.
4. Temporary Fillings Can Also Be Used
Temporary fillings are useful following root canal treatments or when more than one appointment is needed before they can place a permanent filling.
Dental filling treatments usually require little or no recovery time. However, some people may experience tooth sensitivity afterward. It is because removing the cavity and cleaning the affected area expose the underlying sensitive areas of your teeth. If you are experiencing it, your dentist can recommend avoiding hard or sticky foods for a week. After the procedure, you can also try eating soft and lukewarm foods to reduce sensitivity. If it is severe, you can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to manage the discomfort.
Contact Heather Ridge Dentistry if you are looking for dental fillings or are feeling pain or discomfort in your teeth. If left untreated, cavities can get out of hand, requiring more extensive procedures later. Contact our dentist in Laguna Niguel today!