024 7668 6690

What Actually Happens When You Have a Filling?

Porcelain Veneers Coventry

Fillings are probably the most well known dental treatment. Ask anyone in your life and the chances are they have had a cavity patched up with a filling in the past.

We all know that they can be a little uncomfortable, but that the discomfort doesn’t last for long. We also know that they are usually available in dark grey or a tooth-coloured shade.

But beyond this limited knowledge, not many of us are well-versed in the filling process and procedure.

When would you need a filling?

Fillings play an important part in protecting teeth in the long term, and allowing people to keep their own teeth and avoid the need for an extraction. When a cavity appears in a tooth, this is caused by plaque breaking down the tooth’s protective enamel.

Decay will attack the tooth and start to break down the soft tissue inside the tooth. To stop this process in its tracks, your dentist will remove the infected portion of the tooth and then fill this hole with a special material. This is also known as a filling.

What are fillings made from

What are fillings made from?

There are two main types of fillings used by dentists: amalgam and composite. An amalgam filling is generally referred to as a mercury or silver fillings, although they actually contain mercury, silver, tin and copper.

Amalgam fillings are hard-wearing and work well on back teeth, however their colouring makes them noticeable and they are generally avoided for dental repairs at the front of the mouth.

Composite fillings are often referred to as ‘white’ fillings owing to the fact that they are coloured white to make a more natural blend with teeth.

Made of a plastic resin mix, these can be closely matched to the colour of the teeth and, as such, are less noticeable and ideal for more visible parts of the mouth. They are, however, less durable and may need to be replaced within 10 years.

How is a cavity filled

How is a cavity filled?

The process of filling a tooth will often depend on the location of the decay in the mouth. To make patients comfortable during the procedure, your dentist will numb the area to be worked on using local anaesthetic.

First they will numb your gum with a topical anaesthetic and then they will use a very fine needle to completely numb the area. The effects of this can last a few hours, so it’s a good idea to have some tissues with you as your mouth might produce more saliva than usual.

Once the area is completely numb, your dentist will then clear out the decayed part of the tooth using a small dental drill. Next, they will prepare the area ready to accommodate the filling. A suction machine is also used at the same time to remove water generated by the drill – as well as any fragments that are removed from the tooth.

The dentist will then fill the hole with whichever filling material is being used. Amalgam fillings need a larger hole in order to be effective, so more of your tooth material may be removed in order to make room for the filling.

With composite fillings, less of the tooth needs to be removed. In the case of composite fillings a bright light is shone on to the material to harden and strengthen it. This process is also known as curing.

Your dentist will then check how well your filling fits with the rest of your teeth by asking you to bite down on a piece of carbon paper. If necessary a dental drill will be used to improve the shape of the tooth.

Once the procedure is complete, your tooth will be free from decay and you shouldn’t have any further issues with dental pain.

How long does a filling last

How long does a filling last?

This all depends on how well you care for your teeth and how often you visit the dentist for checkups. It is possible for your filling to come loose. This is particularly common when chewing very sticky sweets, so we would recommend cutting these out of your diet once you have a filling.

With the right care, your dental filling should last for a minimum of 10 years and it could last much longer. Composite fillings and fillings that are on the cusp of the teeth are also more likely to wear down prematurely. If you grind your teeth at night, you are also at increased risk of losing your filling sooner.

Closing thoughts

The procedure for filling a cavity is incredibly fast and highly effective for saving your teeth from dental decay. If you are delaying treatment because you are concerned about the potential for pain, don’t worry. Your dentist will make sure you are completely numb throughout the process so you shouldn’t feel a thing.

If you are worried you have a cavity and may need a filling get in touch with Bhandal Dental Surgery.

Call us now to make an appointment

Keep reading...

How A Smile Makeover Can Increase Your Confidence

When patients want to achieve a dramatic transformation, we often recommend a smile makeover. This bespoke treatment plan can mean…

Read article
smile makeover coventry

What is SmileFast?

SmileFast is a new dental treatment plan that allows you to achieve a dramatic smile transformation in as little time…

Read article
Smile Fast Coventry

Anti-wrinkle injections - All you need FAQ's

The most common cosmetic treatment in the world now is anti-wrinkle injections. It's a simple and effective technique that involves…

Read article
Dermal Fillers Coventry Dentist

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin coats fitting over the teeth, protecting them from damage and creating a lovely smile. The tooth-coloured shells…

Read article

Hear from our
happy patients

These are just some of the kind words about our practice, direct from our incredible patients.

Logos iti}
Logos cqc}
Logos cerec}
Logos biohorizon}
Logos opalescence}
Logos gdc}
Logos incognito}
Logos invisalign}
Logos 3m}
Logos damonsystem}