Visiting the dentist can make a lot of people feel nervous, especially if a dental procedure like a filling is needed. Despite usually being a minor procedure many associate fillings with pain and avoid getting them done, even if it’s necessary for the ultimate health of the teeth. To help clear up some of the negative feelings associated with fillings we’d thought we’d share everything there is to know about this specific dental procedure like what they are, the process and how to avoid having to get fillings.
After this, we can guarantee you that you won’t find fillings as nearly as scary as you currently do!
What are Fillings?
Fillings are a dental procedure that involves filling a small hole that has formed in a tooth known as a cavity. Cavities form in teeth when they become decayed due to bacteria lingering in the mouth or conditions, such as acid reflux, when acid deteriorates your teeth’s enamel. It’s easier to treat tooth decay while it’s still minimal because if left too long it can spread to adjacent teeth or even develop into a dental abscess.
This is where fillings come in. As we briefly touched on before, fillings are the procedure that rectifies tooth decay and fills minor holes in your teeth. Many people believe that only children suffer from cavities, but fillings are also one of the most common dental procedures amongst adults too.
But I Don’t Have Any Pain, Why Do I Need a Filling?
Often, your dentist can find cavities, or holes, before any pain occurs. This is ideal, as it means the cavity is small, and will likely indicate you will get a good result from a filling.
Unfortunately, once a hole or cavity causes pain, this often means the tooth has extensive decay that often requires more invasive treatment, such as a root canal or extraction. It is due to this, that it is so important to complete restorations, or fillings, before the onset of pain. These can be discovered at your routine dental exam and clean.
What Are Fillings Made Of?
Fillings can be made from several different materials. Some of the materials used include:
- Silver Amalgam
- Gold (rarely used)
- Composite Materials (which are made of a combination of non-toxic- tooth-coloured materials)
At Mermaid Smiles we use composite (white) dental fillings. These fillings are made up of a mercury-free resin that bonds closely to your tooth enamel. This material comes in various shades of white so that we can select the right colour to match your smile, making the filling practically invisible.
White fillings are preferred because they are more aesthetically pleasing than having a gold or silver filling in your tooth, they’re also less invasive than conventional amalgam restorations. Even if a filling is required at the front of your mouth, no one will even know that it’s there!
The Process of Getting a Filling
The process of getting a filling is simple and can be done over two easy appointments. The first step is going to your dentist for a check-up, this might just be your routine check-up or because you’ve noticed some sensitivity around a particular tooth. Your dentist will perform their routine oral exam where they inspect your teeth individually and use a probe to determine if there are any cavities present.
Upon completion of your examination, your dentist will discuss if they have any concerns regarding your teeth, especially if any cavities need to be treated and where they are situated in your mouth. If a filling is necessary this won’t be completed on the same day, you’ll need to make another appointment to come back specifically for the filling.
When you come back for your filling, a local anaesthetic will be used in the area to ensure you won’t feel anything and there’s no discomfort in the area. The procedure then involves removing the decay, cleaning the hole, and drying it completely so that it is prepared for a composite material that will be used to fill the hole. Once the filling is set in place, the dentist will ask you to bite down on their instruction to ensure your bite is even and then you are good to go.
Are Fillings Painful?
Fillings aren’t painful as the local anaesthetic completely numb the area, so you don’t feel anything. People often assume the procedure is painful, but majority of this fear is due to the sounds that the equipment used for the procedure makes. When situated in your mouth, the small drill used to clean the tooth as well as the saliva ejector, or suction, can be quite loud. This is something we are aware of at Mermaid Smiles which is why we offer a television situated above our chairs along with headphones.
So, while you are having your procedure you can sit back, relax, and watch your favourite show and forget that the procedure is even happening. If you’d prefer you can bring along your own headphones and listen to music or a podcast if TV isn’t really your thing.
Dental Procedures Make Me Nervous!
Being nervous about dental procedures is totally normal and common amongst most people, no matter how big or small the procedure is. We offer in-house sedation dentistry to put our patient’s worries at ease if necessary and help them get the dental care they need. There’s no clear definition of who requires sedation for their dental procedures. Some reasons to consider possibly being sedated during your procedure may include:
- Mild to severe anxiety surrounding visiting a dentist
- Past traumatic dental experience
- Fear of pain or discomfort
- Lengthy or complex procedures
- Wanting to ‘tune out’ what’s going on around you during the procedure
The easiest way to avoid having to get fillings is by preventing tooth decay and cavities in the first place. Just a few simple ways to prevent cavities occurring are:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss once every 24 hours
- Cut back on sugary and acidic drinks
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups
- Avoid sugary food
- Snack less throughout the day
Book In Now!
If you think you may need a filling, or even if it’s just time for your regular check-up, book in with us today. Our team of dental professionals will have your smile looking beautiful in no time.