What to Expect From a Dental Filling

Dental fillings serve an essential purpose by repairing cavities and preventing further decay. At Tarheel Family Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC, our team prioritizes patient comfort and dental health. This article aims to help you understand what to expect during and after a dental filling procedure.

This article aims to help you understand what to expect during and after a dental filling procedure to alleviate concerns.

Preparation for the Procedure

Local Anesthesia

Before the dental filling, your dentist will likely administer local anesthesia to the affected area. This step ensures that you remain comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. The numbing process typically takes a few minutes, after which you are less likely to feel pain and discomfort during the treatment.

Use of Dental Dam (If Needed)

In some cases, your dentist may place a dental dam, a small rubber sheet, around the tooth receiving the filling. This tool keeps the area dry and free from saliva, enhancing the filling material’s adhesion to the tooth. The dental dam also protects the surrounding soft tissues, making the procedure smoother and more efficient.

X-Rays to Determine the Extent of Decay

Before starting the procedure, your dentist may take x-rays of the affected tooth. These x-rays provide a visual guide to the decay’s extent, ensuring complete removal during the treatment. The images help plan the best approach for the filling, ensuring optimal results.

The Filling Procedure

Removal of Decay

Once the area is numb, your dentist will begin removing the decayed portion of the tooth using specialized dental instruments. These tools allow for precise and efficient removal, ensuring only the damaged tissue is taken out. This step is crucial in preventing the decay from spreading further.

Cleaning the Cavity

After removing all decay, your dentist will thoroughly clean the cavity to eliminate any remaining debris or bacteria. A clean cavity ensures the filling material bonds properly with the tooth structure, providing a durable and long-lasting restoration. This step also helps prevent future decay.

Filling Material Options

Tarheel Family Dentistry offers several filling materials, including amalgam and composite resin. Amalgam fillings, made from a mixture of metals, provide strength and durability, making them ideal for back teeth. Composite resin fillings, on the other hand, can better match the color of your natural teeth, offering a more aesthetically pleasing option. Your dentist will discuss these options with you, helping you choose the best material for your needs.

Aftercare Instructions

Sensitivity Post-Procedure

It’s normal to experience some sensitivity in the filled tooth for a few days following the procedure. This sensitivity usually subsides within a week. Avoid excessively hot or cold foods and drinks until the sensitivity decreases. If the sensitivity persists, contact Tarheel Family Dentistry for further evaluation and advice.

Proper Oral Hygiene Practices

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is crucial for the longevity of your dental filling. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings at Tarheel Family Dentistry help ensure your fillings remain in good condition and your overall oral health stays optimal.

Potential Follow-Up Appointments

In some cases, follow-up appointments may be necessary to monitor the filling’s condition and ensure it remains effective. Your dentist will inform you if a follow-up visit is required. These appointments allow your dentist to examine the filling and address any concerns you may have, ensuring your dental health stays on track.

At Tarheel Family Dentistry, we commit to providing our patients with the highest standard of care. Understanding what to expect from a dental filling could alleviate any concerns and prepare you for a comfortable experience. If you suspect a cavity or need a dental filling, schedule an appointment with us today.