Brushing and flossing the teeth properly will help protect the look and health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. However, many people still develop cavities and decay even though they understand the importance of good oral hygiene. While shocking to learn, an estimated 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have cavities in their permanent teeth. If you are part of this group, do not panic — help is available. With proper treatment by your dentist, you can reduce the pain and unappealing appearance of cavities while preventing more involved decay and tooth loss. Here are a few steps to help you prepare for a cavity filling.
Decide on Dental Filler
One surprising step you will face is deciding on what type of material will be used to fill your cavity. You and your dentist can work together to determine which material is best for your needs, appearance, and budget, but knowing the benefits of each option is helpful.
Amalgam fillings are one of the most common options available. Constructed out of a variety of metals, amalgam fillings are incredibly durable and strong. Therefore, most dentists recommend using amalgam to fill cavities in teeth located in the back of the mouth because they are under a lot of pressure while biting down on foods. In addition, amalgam fillings are noticeable, so they are not ideal for use on the front teeth.
Metal, such as gold or silver, is another common option for cavity fillings. Metal is durable and has a long life span, but they can be very expensive. They also stand apart from the color of your teeth.
Composite fillings are also options to consider for your cavities. These fillings are made out of a combination of quartz and glass. They are durable and can be made to match the color of your teeth, ensuring they are not terribly noticeable.
Finally, you may want the cavity filled with a material that is very similar to the color of your existing teeth. If so, ceramic fillings may be the option for you. Made out of porcelain, ceramic fillings are not as durable as metal or composite, but they are great options for filling cavities that are affecting the teeth in the front of your mouth.
Add It to Your Schedule
Filling a cavity is not a long procedure, but it is not something that can be done on your short lunch break. It is important to add the procedure to your schedule because you will need to be in the dental chair for a good period of time.
It is important to remember that each patient is different, so the total time you will spend at the dentist will depend on your specific cavity and the amount of decay your dentist has to remove.
Anesthetic is used to numb the teeth and gum tissue before the procedure. You and your dentist will need to wait for the anesthetic to kick in before beginning the actual drilling and filling of the cavity. Because each person responds differently to the anesthetic, estimating a time for the numbing medication to start working is difficult.
Prepare for Recovery
Tooth fillings do not require a long recovery like an extraction or oral surgery does, but you do still need to prepare for a period of rest and recovery.
Once the anesthetic wears off, you will feel some discomfort in the treated tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. You may also feel some jaw pain and fatigue. Swelling and tooth sensitivity are also common after a cavity filling.
Your dentist will recommend over-the-counter ibuprofen to ease your pain and alleviate some of the discomfort. An ice pack can also be used on the jaw to reduce swelling and pain
Cavities may be common, but they do not have to affect your quality of life. This guide will help you prepare for a filling that will restore your tooth back to a healthy and appealing state.