Do you feel like every time you see your dentist, you’re being told you need another filling? Sensational Smiles wants you to be prepared when the warning signs of a cavity may warrant a dental filling, and what to expect when getting a dental filling. We will also go over the aftercare process.
Why Do You Need A Filling?
When food particles combine with saliva they can form plaque, a clear but sticky substance that will coat your teeth if not brushed off. If the sticky plaque is allowed to remain in contact with your teeth for extended periods of time due to improper brushing, then a collection of bacteria will accumulate and begin feeding on this plaque. These bacteria release their digestive acids that begin to eat away at your enamel. Eventually, your tooth enamel may become discolored. If this situation is allowed to continue, it can form a hole in your tooth’s enamel known as a cavity. Cavities open up your tooth to infections as well as exposing the sensitive nerves inside.
How Do You Recognize Decay?
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call our office:
- Dark or greyish-black spots on your front teeth
- Chipped off areas that your tongue often finds
- Holes where food gets stuck
Tooth decay often begins with mild sensitivity to cold or hot liquids or transient sensitivity when eating sweet food. It can progress to slight pain when biting or chewing. Eventually, if not treated, you may feel an electric sensation or sudden sensitivity when biting or chewing certain foods. This may result in constant pain that lasts for hours and needs medication to be relieved.
How Does the Dentist Choose A Filling?
Filling materials were once usually silver amalgam, but in more recent years they’re done with cements like glass ionomer. These days, the most widely used filling substance is plastic composite, a kind of tooth-colored material. Composite hardens when cured with a UV light, chemically bonding to your teeth. This process seals the cavities up and reinforces the area that was weakened by tooth decay.
What Should I Expect After A Filling?
A permanent filling when done with composite allows you to eat immediately afterwards with no precautions. Your tooth is as good as new at this point and you should be unable to see where the filing was done. You may experience some mild to moderate sensitivity in the filled tooth which should abate within 48 hours. It may take some time and wear to adjust if the filling is slightly over or under the regular level of your bite.
How Long Will My Filling Last?
Contrary to popular belief, fillings do not last forever no matter what they are cast from. A filling usually lasts anywhere from 3-7 years on average but needs regular annual examinations to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, darkening, or chipping under the filling, schedule to see your dentist immediately. Seeing these indicates a breakdown of the filling and you will probably need a replacement of the filling.
Fillings in Plano, TX
If you are in the Plano, TX area and would like a consultation with Dr. Sowell about a possible cavity or any dental concern, call (972) 382-6855 or schedule an appointment online.