You’re eating out, having fun, not really ignoring your sweet tooth when one fine day, it happens.
Your tooth hurts! Now you’re all worried and panicking because you have never been to a dentist in your life, and all the stories you’ve heard from your friends are scary!
Finally, you calm down enough to decide to go to the dentist. But hey, you don’t want to go to the clinic unprepared.
You want to know what all that happens and what you need to look out for. Don’t worry; we have got you covered!
Everything you may need to know about getting a filling is right here! Tooth decay is very common and is nothing to be afraid of!
How Long Does it Take to Get a Filling?
Well, getting a dental cavity filling is the most basic procedure. It can take from just ten minutes to even an hour.
It all depends on the condition and location of your cavity. You need to understand that your tooth doesn’t just have a simple cavity.
It has been attacked by several bacteria that already reside in your mouth.
In order to fill in the cavity, the dental surgeon first has to remove the infestation and then move on to the filling.
If the filling is right near the edge of the tooth, it should be done in under 15 minutes if you have an experienced dental surgeon.
If it goes deeper into the tooth, the time period is 20 to 40 minutes.
Does it Hurt to Get a Filling?
A superficial dental filling doesn’t usually hurt. All you feel is a little bit of vibration on your tooth when the dental surgeon removes the damaged part with a device called a handpiece.
Some people may feel a little bit of tooth sensitivity. For those deep cavities, it may hurt the patient.
It is prudent to inject some local anesthesia (LA) before starting. The vibration will turn to severe sensitivity and then an ache if the LA is not injected properly.
The Filling Procedure: What To Expect
Before getting anything started, you have to make sure that the instruments that are being used on you are properly sterilized.
They should be taken out of sealed plastic pouches in front of you. If you feel like the pouch may have been open before you got there, ask the dentist to change the instruments.
That decreases you catching an infectious disease to zero.
The first thing your dentist will ask is about your pain and its history.
They may ask you about your medical health. Questions may include:
- Duration and location of the tooth pain
- What causes the pain (do cold foods cause the pain? Maybe warm foods?)
- Whether or not you have used medication (analgesics) for the pain
- How long does the pain last for
- Your dietary habits (do you prefer sugary food, acidic food, or sticky food)
- History of smoking, betel nuts, etc
- Any existing allergies to latex. (any materials should be told immediately to prevent allergic reactions.) Some people react to LA. Be mindful, please.
It is essential to inform your dentist of existing medical conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV, and AIDS.)
After this, your oral health will be explored. The dentist will look at the tooth that hurts. He will check out your gum health and the overall health of your mouth.
Your dentist, if experienced, will not need to take a radiograph of the tooth if they think that the cavity is superficial.
If they are not sure or if you need to be reassured, a radiograph should be the next step.
If the cavity is superficial, there is no need for LA. Mild pain is to be expected. If it is deeper, LA is needed
- Using a handpiece and a bur, the damage is removed
- After removing the bacteria, the dentist will carefully place your filling material of choice into the cavity.
- Next, your dentist will make sure that your filling material has set properly before asking you to close your mouth
- Once that is done, you will be asked to check for “high spots” while you close your mouth.
- That is basically done to trim any sharp edges. Trimming these will help give it the shape of a natural tooth.
- Once you are content, you are done! Go home and relax.
After The Filling: What To Expect
- If your dentist has used LA, expect the numbness to last for 2 hours. The sensation should return after that time has passed.
- Expect to feel a little uncomfortable due to the added material
- It is normal if you feel a little bit of sensitivity for a few days.
- There is no need for medication other than a mild painkiller (Tylenol, panadol)
- It is possible that the high spot hasn’t been removed, which is the reason for the mild pain.
- It is nothing to worry about. Just go back to your dentist, and he will fix the height of the filling.
What are the Different Types of Fillings?
There are many types of fillings.
- Composite: Composite resin filling material is the most commonly used in dentistry all around the world.
- It is a tooth-colored filling, which is why it is so popular. It is a combination of resin and powdered glass.
- It is placed in the cavity and is easy to manipulate. It is then light-cured (hardened using a light device that has Ultraviolet rays) into place.
- Ceramic: This type of filling material is made of porcelain, making it more prone to breakage in smaller cavity preparations.
- It is tooth-colored, but due to its brittleness, dentists prefer composite fillings over ceramic fillings.
- Glass Ionomer Cement: Also called GIC. They are made of glass and acrylic.
- They are mostly used in children for two main reasons; they release fluoride, which is good for preventing further caries.
- They last only a few years before cracking or dislodging.
- Silver Amalgam: This is the material most people know about. This filling is not just silver; it has mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper.
- Since amalgam is silver in color, it is slowly losing its importance in dentistry because people are becoming more and more conscious about their smiles.
- Gold: Gold filling is the most expensive material, and rightly so. Not a lot of practitioners give this type of gold filling material. It does have the ability to last for more than 20 years.
How Long Does it Take For a Filling to Set?
Depending on the type of material, the setting time ranges from 30 seconds to 1 hour. Amalgam can set in an hour, but to really get its strength to the max, it will take about 24 hours.
It is suggested that the patient shouldn’t eat hard stuff from that side of the mouth until then. Composite takes about 30 seconds, while GIC takes around 7 minutes.
How Long Does it Take to Heal?
If you have just had a filling done, there is nothing to heal. If the dentist injures your gum by mistake, not to worry.
That wasn’t supposed to be a part of the filling. Give yourself three days, and it’ll feel better.
For the sensitivity to go away completely, you may want to give yourself 3 to 5 days.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Gold fillings can last for up to 30 years. (Amalgam – 10 to 15 years).
Other materials aren’t so long-lasting ao you may have to get them replaced every five to seven years.
The better you keep your oral health, the longer your fillings will last.
Why Shouldn’t You Skip Your Fillings?
A tooth is made up of three layers. The first one is the one that we see, called the enamel. When bacteria attack the enamel, the patient feels no pain at all.
The next layer is called the dentine. There is a little sensation in this layer. Once the cavity has reached this layer, this is when you start to feel pain and sensitivity.
That is when you see you should probably get your tooth checked out by a dental surgeon. The last layer is called the pulp. That consist of nerve endings and blood-vessels.
If the bacteria reaches this layer, it is impossible to save the tooth using just filling. Since it is so close to the nerves, the pain is unbearable, and it causes the patient a lot of trouble.
When this happens, another treatment, called the root canal treatment, is done. That is longer. It takes at least three visits to the dentist.
The bacteria are removed, the infected pulp is excised, the tooth is then cleaned, shaped, and then filled with a special material called GP.
A crown goes over the tooth after it is done to make sure that the tooth lasts.
How Do You Know if You Need a Filling?
The main sign is the sudden onset of pain while you’re chewing, eating something sweet, or something cold.
The pain comes instantaneously and goes away in a few seconds. That is when you know you need a filling. If the pain starts suddenly, you have missed your cue to get that filling.
According to the American Dental Association, everyone should get a dental checkup done every six months.
If your dental surgeon finds a cavity in its starting stages, that can be nipped in the bud without it causing more damage to you.
How Much Do Dental Fillings Cost?
Everyone knows that dental surgeons are notorious for their expensive treatment.
An amalgam filling can cost between $100 to $200. Other newer materials can cost up to $135 to $400 for each filling that you get done.
The best thing to do is introduce a dental insurance plan to your health insurance package. Or better, get dental health insurance.
Since dental care is expensive all over the world, it is important that you think about this.
Is Prevention Better Than Cure?
There is a whole specialization dedication to the prevention of oral diseases. It is called preventative dentistry. Prevention is always better than cure.
Why should you gamble your oral health instead of playing it safe? Here are some of the tips that you have to keep in mind.
- Use toothpaste that has fluoride in it. It makes your teeth more resistant to caries.
- Get a six-monthly checkup from your dentist
- After eating, either brush your teeth or rinse. Make sure there are no remnants of food left between the spaces of your teeth.
- The leftover food leads to an acidic environment in your mouth which leads to cavities.
- Use of fissure sealants has been seen. The molars are teeth with a lot of pits and grooves on their surface, making it easy for food particles to get stuck there.
- To prevent that from happening, these grooves are sealed using filling material. That stops the development of cavities from an early age.
- The most important thing is to educate your children and families about their oral hygiene.
- Introduce flossing. Make sure you floss. For the people who cannot reach the molars, there are stick flosses available that make it easier.
A Primer On Cavities and How to Handle them
The cavities that are too big threaten the structural integrity of the tooth and only can be used. It is a type of restoration that is called indirect restoration.
It is made to cover the surface of the tooth. It is then placed into the mouth and seated using cement.
Another option is a crown. A crown covers your entire tooth, something like a cap.
Finding Cavity Fillings and Dental Treatments
Technically, the procedures are irreversible. The tooth that has been removed cannot be brought back.
When choosing your dentist, you must be very vigilant. Make sure you read their reviews before going.
When you do go, make sure you are happy by their demeanor, their assistants, and, most importantly, the clinic’s level of cleanliness. That is of the utmost importance.
What will Other Factors Impact How Long my Tooth will Be Sensitive After a Dental Filling?
- How deep your filling is. If your cavity was deep, the chances are that you will feel sensitivity for a few days
- If the height of the filling is higher than your other teeth
- If the material used is metal, it may be conducting heat from your hot drinks
- The white filling material has been put in the cavity too hard.
Preventing Future Cavities
- Try to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Rinse or brush after every meal
- Try to avoid eating at multiple intervals. If you want to have candy or anything else that is filled with carbs, eat them all in one go.
- If you keep on eating after giving breaks, your mouth pH will keep on going back to being acidic instead of the alkaline pH of your saliva. That will lead to more caries
- Add fluoride toothpaste to your monthly grocery shopping list
- Floss, floss, floss.
- Make sure you get a checkup every six months
- Make sure you brush AFTER breakfast and before going to bed
- Start using mouthwashes that have chlorhexidine in them
- Get scaling done. There are times when the bacteria travel from your gums into your tooth, causing cavities.
- Remember, your oral health depends on many things.
It takes 2 hours for your filling to set before you start eating.
Give them 24 hours to gain maximum strength.
Avoid chewing on hard things until then.
Two hours after your filling, you can eat or drink anything. Just make sure that you care while drinking very hot or very cold drinks if you have a gold or an amalgam filling.
Since metals attract heat, it is possible that your tooth may feel some sensitivity due to the drastically high and low temperatures.
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Immediately after your procedure, don’t eat or drink. After 2 hours have passed, you can eat and drink anything.
Just make sure not to put pressure on your newly filled tooth for about 24 hours.
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Dull pain is very common. You can take over-the-counter analgesics (Tylenol) to ease the pain.
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The pain should subside in a few hours, and the sensitivity should go away in about 3 to 5 days.
Nothing! You may take some time getting used to the new filling, but everything else is the same.
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Yes, you can! Be careful if you have had a metal filling, though. Hot soups may cause a little sensitivity in the first few days.
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Since a filling is done in a single sitting, you only have to go one time.
If you are prone to cavities, make sure you visit your local clinic once in 6 months.
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If the filling has fallen out or chipped away
If you feel pain in the same tooth after a few years
If your dentist finds reason to suspect another phase of caries in your tooth.
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If you use a tooth-colored material, your filling will be hard to tell apart from your natural tooth.
If you go for an amalgam filling, it will look silver. If you go for a gold filling, it will look golden.
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Final Advice About “How Long Does it Take to Fill a Cavity?”
In the end, all we have to say is to avoid such foods that cause cavity.
But somehow, if you are affected by that, then take all the necessary precautions.
We hope you learn something out of it.