Most people will require a dental filling at some point in their life, whether in childhood or even after the permanent teeth have come in. Here’s everything you need to know about this routine, safe treatment.
A dental filling is so named because it is a piece of malleable material that fills a cavity in a tooth. This treatment delays the growth of the cavity, saving it from having to be extracted, and restores function to the tooth.
A hole can form in the exterior of the tooth due to decay (known as a cavity) or trauma. When this happens, it needs to be filled, or the hole can worsen, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially reach the interior of the tooth. At this point, a more serious dental treatment known as a root canal will be needed.
It’s usually pretty easy to tell if you need a filling, as you’ll be experiencing sensitivity to heat or cold in the same area of the mouth regularly. Additionally, you may be able to see a dark spot or hole on a tooth, experience pain when biting, or notice that the tooth feels rough, chipped, or fractured.
Dental fillings can be made of a variety of different materials. These include safe resin composite materials (which match the color of the natural teeth), gold, or silver. The material used depends on how extensive the damage is, the cost, and whether or not you have any allergies.
If you’ve never received a filling, you might be nervous about undergoing the procedure, but it is very common and can be performed quickly. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect that you have a cavity or tooth injury.