How Dentists Fill Cavities – Ask a Dentist in Spring, Texas - Vita Dental Spring
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How Dentists Fill Cavities – Ask a Dentist in Spring, Texas

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How Dentists Fill Cavities – Ask a Dentist in Spring, Texas

Fillings are normally used to restore a tooth that has partially decayed. Compared to other dental restorative procedures like getting crowns, bridges and root canal therapy, the procedure for filling cavities is fairly fast and simple. While the time varies slightly from one case to another, a dental appointment for filling cavities usually lasts anywhere between 15 to 60 minutes. In this post, Vita Dental  takes you through the procedure dentists follow in filling cavities.

Before the treatment begins, the patient has to determine the type of fillings that they want to have. There are a variety of filling materials, and they include silver amalgam, tooth-colored resin, gold, porcelain, and glass ionomer. The different types of fillings vary in strength and cost. Most people prefer fillings that are white in color. The most common choices for many are amalgam fillings and composite resin fillings for back and front teeth respectively.

The amalgam fillings are stronger than the composite fillings, last longer and contain mercury. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are weaker but more expensive and are less noticeable.

Steps in getting dental fillings

1.    Comfort

The first thing the dentist will do is to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. To eliminate pain, the dentist will administer anesthesia to numb the subject tooth and the surrounding area. The dentist will dry the area to be injected with anesthesia and then apply numbing gel. The gel is left to soak in first before the injection is done. Alternatively, the dentist can directly inject the anesthesia if the patient is okay with the painful pinch.

2.    Preparing the mouth

After the mouth is numb enough, the dentist will use a number of materials to ensure the process goes on successfully. A rubber dam is usually placed around the tooth to be filled and around the mouth. This is a thin rubber piece that helps make the procedure much easier for the dentist. It also helps keep the mouth dry as the dentist works.

A bite block is the other material used. It is a rubber triangle inserted between the lower and upper teeth to help keep the jaw open without causing the patient to strain their muscles. It also helps prevent the patient from closing their mouth during the procedure.

After the mouth is ready, the dentist may begin getting rid of the portion of your tooth that has decayed.

3.    Eliminating the tooth decay

Once the patient is numb enough and the mouth is ready, the dentist embarks on getting rid of the decay. There are a number of tools used for this purpose, and they include a high-speed handpiece, commonly known as a dental drill, high-volume suction, and a saliva ejector. The high-speed handpiece sprays a jet of water out and whisks away the decayed structure in the tooth. The high-volume suction is used to remove the water from the high-speed handpiece and the debris emanating from the decayed tooth. The saliva ejector which is also known as a low-volume suction is used to get rid of extra water or saliva in the mouth. Once the debris has been eliminated, the dentist may opt to finish up and remove any remaining cavity material using hand instruments manually.

The debris is then cleaned off with water or air to remove the smaller particles that may not have come off. Once the decayed portion of the tooth is out, the next stage is restoring the structure of the tooth with the fillings.

4.    Inserting the fillings

The gap in the tooth that had decayed is now filled with the fillings to make it a whole tooth again. Dentists often use liner or bases in the exposed interior part of the tooth to eliminate pain after the procedure. Liners are used to seal passageways leading to the pulp’s nerve hence eliminating sensitivity. Bases, on the other hand, are used if the decay was too close to the tooth’s nerve. They are almost similar to a liner but thicker.

After placing either the liner or the base, the filler material is mixed up, and then the dentist places it in your tooth using a special machine. The filler is compacted tightly to ensure there are no empty spaces inside. After compaction, the filler is then crafted to make the surface look like a normal tooth. To make sure that the filling is not too high, the dentist will give the patient a piece of paper for them to bite on. The paper will help them know where they need to work on. If need be, the tooth will be smoothed down.

Once this is done, the patient is good to go home. The procedure is fairly simple and fast. It is also pretty effective when dealing with cavities and is recommended to prevent tooth decay from progressing. Cavities are pretty common and are often caused by sugary foods and poor oral hygiene practices. In case you get to the point where you need dental fillings, at least now you know what to expect.