Your dentist will remove the decayed piece of the tooth and then “fill” the region on the tooth where the decayed material once resided to treat a cavity.
Fillings are also used to restore teeth that have been worn down due to usage, such as those that have been cracked or shattered (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).
The dentist will first use a local anesthetic to numb the region around the tooth. The deteriorated region will next be removed with a drill, an air abrasion device, or a laser. The instrument chosen is determined by the dentist’s level of comfort, training, and investment in the piece of equipment, as well as the location and amount of the decay.
Following that, during the decay removal process, your dentist will probe or test the region to see if all of the decay has been removed. After the decay has been removed, your dentist will clean the cavity of bacteria and debris in preparation for the filling. Your dentist may first place a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or another substance to protect the nerve if the decay is near the root. Your dentist will usually complete and polish the filling after it has been placed.
Tooth-colored fillings necessitate a few extra steps, which are outlined below. The tooth-colored material is put in layers after your dentist has removed the decay and cleaned the area. After that, each layer is exposed to a specific light that “cures” or hardens it. After the multilayering process is finished, your dentist will shape the composite material to the appropriate shape and trim any extra material.
You should keep your fillings by visiting your dentist for cleanings regularly, brushing with fluoride-containing toothpaste, and flossing at least once a day.
If your dentist feels a filling is fractured or “leaking” (when the sides of the filling don’t fit tightly against the tooth, dirt and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth), you should see him right away.
He or she will take X-rays to analyze the issue (which can lead to deterioration).
Call your dentist for an appointment if your tooth is excessively sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you see a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing.