At Riverstone Family Dentistry we understand that getting dental fillings probably isn't the most pleasant thought in your mind. However, having a little understanding of them may help you change these thoughts. To begin with, you should know that a dental filling (a.k.a. restoration) is meant to restore your tooth structure's function and integrity. Whether this was destroyed by a cavity or some type of trauma, this restoration is important.
The Filling Procedure
When you come to our office to get a filling, we'll give you some local anesthesia to make sure that this area of your mouth is numb. Once we're sure of this, we'll use a dental drill to cut through your tooth's enamel and remove any of the decay that's in your tooth. We must then prepare your tooth and then fill it with the composite which is a type of an amalgam (a mixture that's composed of several metals which includes mercury, tin, and silver). This is done in a layering process that eventually fills up the cavity in its entirety.
Pain Associated with Fillings
Since you'll receive local anesthesia for the procedure, you won't feel any pain. However, once the procedure is over the anesthesia will eventually wear off. This is when you may feel some tingling throughout your mouth. Your tooth may also be a bit sensitive, which is why you should avoid really hot or really cold food. You can also take a pain reliever to help with the discomfort.
Additionally, you may want to buy some toothpaste that's specially designed for sensitive teeth to use with your soft bristled toothbrush as it's imperative that you take good care of your oral hygiene from this point forward.
Lifetime of Dental Fillings
A filling is meant to replace any of your tooth structure that's been lost to decay. While these can last for several years, they will eventually need to be replaced. This is because you constantly use your teeth to eat and drink food, you may also (even unknowingly) place stress on your teeth by clenching or grinding them. There are also bacteria in your mouth that can lead to additional tooth decay regardless of how well you take care of your teeth.
We will be able to tell you when your filling needs replaced. This is because we'll see that the seal between your tooth and filling has broken down. When this happens decay-causing bacteria like food particles can get in between your filling and your tooth.
Typically, an amalgam filling will last longer than a composite filling. While amalgam fillings last 10-15 years, composite fillings only last for around 5 years. This is because composite fillings aren't as strong or as durable, so they don't stand up to pressure as well as amalgam fillings, especially when they have been used to fill in a large cavity.
Now that you are a little more knowledgeable about fillings, we invite you to contact Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 326-1443 to help you get the treatment you need.