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Your Step-By-Step Guide To Having A Filling

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Dental fillings are a common restorative procedure to treat cavities or tooth decay. It's something that dentists all over the country carry out routinely, in some cases, every day. And yet, among those apprehensive about this process or who have never had a filling before, not knowing what to expect can cause distress. Read this step-by-step guide to help dispel your fears by gaining a clearer understanding of what to expect.

1. Undergoing Diagnosis

The first step with any filling is an examination of the teeth by your dentist. This will often take place during a routine check-up. These days, dentists use a number of different instruments, including dental explorers and intraoral cameras, to detect any possible decay or cavities in teeth. If a sufficiently large cavity is discovered, then dentists may will suggest filling it, especially if remineralizing it with toothpaste has proven to be unsuccessful.

2. Administering Anesthesia

After an appointment has been made for the filling, a qualified dental practitioner will need to numb the area around the affected tooth. Dentists do this to minimize discomfort. Local anesthesia from an injection is common but there are other options. Typically, an injected anesthetic will go into the gum near the tooth that needs the filling, thereby allowing for a painless experience.

3. Removing Decay

After a few minutes, once the area to be worked on is numb, dentists will remove the decayed part of the tooth. A dental drill, laser, or air abrasion instrument will help them to do this without affecting any of the nearby, healthy teeth. This process continues until the dentist is confident that all decay has been removed. Otherwise, decaying tissue could be trapped beneath the filling which would lead to undesirable outcomes.

4. Preparing For the Filling

After removing the decay, the next step you can expect is preparation for the filling itself. Dentists prepare by cleaning the cavity so that all bacteria and debris are removed. Note that if the decay was near the root of the tooth, then a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material may be applied at this time to protect the nerve below. You'll be informed if this is the case.

5. Inerting the Filling Material

Next, the filling material will be inserted into the prepared and cleaned cavity. The type of filling used could be a composite, an amalgam, or a type of ceramic. The one chosen will depend on various factors, including the extent of the decay and the agreed cost of the procedure since some materials are more expensive than others. Bear in mind that the filling is applied in layers, not all in one go. Each layer is hardened - or cured - with a special light. Therefore, the bigger the cavity, the longer this process will take.

6. Polishing the Filling

Once fillings are in place and cured, dentists will finish and polish them. This stage means shaping the filling so that it will fit well. After all, you won't want any rough edges when you run your tongue over it or excessive sharpness when you bite into something.

7. Post-Filling Care

After the filling has been fitted, the numbness caused by the anesthesia will begin to wear off. Some swelling might occur in your mouth around the filling but this will die down in the coming days. Try to brush your teeth normally but use mouthwash for a few days if this is not possible.

For more information, contact dentists near you.