Finding out you have a cavity can be a little tough. But the good news is that dentists have a very reliable way of treating cavities with fillings. They've been filling cavities for many years, so the techniques are well-honed and quite reliable. However, as a patient, you may still want some of the following questions answered before you have a cavity filled.
What will the dentist use to fill your cavity?
Most fillings these days are made from a sort of composite resin. This is a hard, synthetic material that can be colored to match your teeth perfectly. It is also long-lasting and relatively easy for dentists to file down and shape to suit your tooth. Some dentists do still use metal amalgam for some fillings. The only real downfall of this material is its color. However, if the filling is in a back molar, you can sometimes save money by opting for a metal amalgam filling over a composite one.
Will getting a filling hurt?
Getting a filling would hurt if it weren't for local anesthesia. Thankfully, almost all dentists use a local anesthetic before applying a filling these days. They'll give you an injection into the cheek tissue or gum tissue near the tooth that has the cavity. This will numb the area so you won't feel pain when a tooth is being drilled into. You'll feel a brief pinch and sting when you get the actual injection, and you'll feel some pressure during the drilling and filling process.
Will your tooth hurt after getting a filling?
Most patients don't have any pain after getting a filling. In rare cases, you may have some aching or jaw pain after the procedure, but this is mostly because you were holding your mouth open for a long time during the filling procedure.
You may also find that your tooth is a bit sensitive to hot and cold foods for a few days or weeks after getting a filling. This is normal, and it will almost always go away in time. It is just because the nerves tend to be disturbed and irritated when your dentist is putting pressure on the tooth to drill and fill it.
Having cavities filled is not that difficult from a patient's perspective. If you have any other questions about cavities, talk to your dentist. They are usually happy to walk you through the process so you know what to expect.