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A Short and Sweet FAQ about Dental Fillings

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Why are dental fillings necessary?

There are various reasons why you might need dental fillings as mentioned below.

  • Sensitivity to cold, hot, and sugary foods
  • General tooth pain
  • A dark spot appears on the surface of your tooth
  • A chipped, broken, or rough tooth
  • Getting food stuck in your mouth
  • Pain when you bite or chew using a certain tooth
  • An x-ray reveals decay underneath the tooth
  • A filling falling out
  • Floss gets shredded by certain teeth

What is the process of getting dental filling?

If you have a cavity and you get it treated before it reaches the root of your teeth, the procedure would be relatively simple. A local anaesthetic will be given to you to numb your tooth. Then, the damaged or decayed tooth would be removed. 

In case you are getting a resin filling, your tooth would be treated using an acid gel. It will help prepare the tooth surface before the filling material can be used. Then, the acid gel would be washed away and the filling would be placed. 

Lastly, a special light will be used by the dentist to cure the teeth. There might be a need for the dentist to smooth the filling.

Which dental filling material should you use?

There are various dental filling materials that are available. These include gold, porcelain, tooth-colored composite resin, and silver amalgam. The following will influence which dental filling material you can get.

  • The extent and the location of the decay
  • Insurance coverage 
  • The cost of the filling material 
  • Your preferences

Generally, dentists use composite resin material for the filling. The reason behind this is that it is an all-around solution that is affordable, durable, and tooth-colored. You can also ask your dentist more about each type of material and they will help you choose the best one.

Are dental fillings safe?

As all filling materials are approved by the FDA, dental fillings are a safe procedure. Thus, you have nothing to worry about. But, there is a risk that of sensitivity to the product that is used during the procedure. It is due to this reason that you need to let your dentist know about any known sensitivities beforehand. It will ensure that you do not experience any issues.

How much do dental fillings cost without insurance?

A great thing about dental fillings is that they are considered to be one of the most affordable dental procedures. However, the filling material you choose would influence the overall cost. Besides this, the number of teeth that need to be restored will have a huge impact on cost. Generally, filling a small cavity will cost less in comparison to filling a large area.

Do you need to replace dental fillings?

Dental fillings typically last many years. But, they will need to be replaced eventually. Pressure from constant biting and chewing will cause the filling to chip or crack over time. Thus, the filling would start to wear away and allow bacteria to make its way into the small spaces. It is important that you go for regular dental exams. It will ensure that your dentist is able to identify wear or damage early on.

Do dental fillings hurt?

Tooth sensitivity or pain is quite common after you get a filling. When you first get a filling, your tooth will be more sensitive to cold and hot temperatures. You will also need to be careful when chewing or biting as the pressure would cause pain. But, the good news is that the pain would resolve within one to two weeks. However, if the pain does not go away, it is important that you reach out to your dentist. You must be gentle with your teeth in the meantime.

Do dental fillings cause headaches or migraines?

There are many reasons why someone might experience a headache or migraine. But, your mouth and jaw might be to blame. Pain that is caused by the temporomandibular joint can travel to your skill and cause a migraine. The connection between a toothache and headache could also be causing the pain. Hence, you will need to treat the toothache. Let your dentist know if you suspect a toothache.

Do dental fillings cause bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by the bacteria that reside in your mouth. Otherwise, a medical condition could also be causing bad breath. Old fillings or cavities also cause bad breath which is why you must ensure proper oral hygiene to improve your breath.

Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.

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