Dental hygiene is a critical part of your overall healthcare. Some individuals are more genetically prone to getting cavities, to encountering diseases, illnesses, or infections that can be troublesome, dangerous, and expensive to treat. Conversely, some individuals never experience dental issues in their lifetime. Cavities are one of the most common presenting problems for dental patients, and they are usually treated with a simple procedure called a dental filling. In this article, we’ll go over what a filling is, what you can expect if you encounter a cavity, and how to handle your after-care after a filling procedure.
What does a dental filling do?
A dental filling is a method of restoring and protecting a tooth that has been infiltrated by a cavity. A cavity is an area of a tooth that has become decayed, usually due to poor dental hygiene practice; however, as we mentioned before, some individuals are more genetically prone to cavities and other oral health complications. A cavity can range in severity, and a dental filling is one of few ways to save the tooth. Dental fillings are relatively simple procedures, and can usually be done in a single visit. It is important for the practitioner to be thorough in the procedure to avoid the recurrence of a cavity.
Types of fillings
There are several different types of fillings that your dentist may choose from, depending on your needs and wishes. Some of the following materials are often used for filling cavities, and they vary in the length of time they usually last as well as cost and durability:
- Gold foil or cast gold
- Porcelain or ceramic
The most popular options for filling material are composite, porcelain, or ceramic fillings.
Recent developments in the dental industry have made fillings look much more natural with porcelain and ceramic filling options, as they match the color of the tooth seamlessly. Conversely, composite fillings can tend to be more noticeable. Your reliable dentist will help you choose the right type of filling material for you, as it is not a one-size-fits-all process.
What to expect after your filling procedure
Filling procedures have become routine and relatively simple over the years. With advanced technology in dental practices, it’s easier than ever to figure out how to best treat a tooth that has been affected by a cavity. Fillings can save you from having to undergo a root canal, which is a more invasive procedure. After your filling, it is normal for your mouth to be numbed from the local anesthetic for a few hours. This is the period where patients usually injure themselves by consuming especially hot foods or biting down on the numbed area. Although fillings usually set right away, you should try to avoid chewing foods on that tooth—especially hard, chewy, or brittle foods immediately after the procedure. Besides numbness, it is normal for your tooth to be a little sensitive for a period of days to weeks, depending on the severity of the cavity.
How to prevent cavities
Preventing cavities is not always easy, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Sugar and other corrosive materials that linger in the fine cracks and fissures of your teeth burrow deep holes after a period of time and lead to cavities. Avoiding sugary or especially hard foods can keep your teeth from cracking and can ultimately prevent cavities. Here are a few other things you can do to prevent cavities from occurring:
- Find a reputable dentist you trust
- Follow an established care routine
- Don’t wait to address concerning symptoms or dental pain
- Consult with your dentist on the best care protocol for your needs
At the Dental Group of Simi Valley, located in beautiful Simi Valley, CA, we approach our dental practice with a preventive attitude. Our clients come to us to get help establishing a regular oral hygiene routine that works best for them. We offer routine teeth cleanings to help prevent cavities, but should the occasion arise, our state-of-the-art technology makes fillings a quick, simple, and painless procedure. Providing dental health care for the whole family, we work with patients of all ages and different stages of development. If you’d like to schedule a check-up for you or your family members, please call one of our helpful professionals today.