Got Cavities? Here Are Some Key Facts About Dental Fillings That You Should Know

Posted on: 29 January 2022

If your dentist has discovered cavities in any of your teeth during your routine checkup, he or she will likely recommend dental fillings to keep tooth decay from worsening. Dental fillings often work effectively in stopping decay from spreading deeper into teeth and causing more serious dental problems that often require more expensive and invasive treatments to resolve. Here are some key facts about dental fillings so that you'll know what to expect with this dental treatment.

Numbing injections aren't always needed.

In most cases, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with numbing agent injections so that no pain will be felt while the cavity is drilled and filled. However, you might not need numbing injections if a cavity is still on the surface level and hasn't penetrated deep into the tooth. Drilling is often minimal with surface cavities and usually doesn't reach nerves that trigger painful sensations.

Your dentist may have multiple material choices for fillings.

Dental fillings can be made from several materials, and your dentist may only use one material as standard practice or have different material choices that can have their advantages and drawbacks. If your dentist offers more than one type of material, the two of you can discuss the different options so that you can choose a filling that will give you the best results based on where the filling will be located inside your mouth and how the filling is expected to look once the work is complete. Among the most commonly used materials for dental fillings are:

  • Amalgam
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic
  • Composite
  • Glass ionomer

You'll likely need to have your fillings replaced eventually.

Fillings aren't designed to last a lifetime, and you may need to have them replaced eventually so that the teeth with the fillings can stay protected. Even the most durable filling materials can break down after years of daily wear and tear, but your fillings may last as long as 15 years before they'll need to be removed so that new material can be added to fill in the holes that were drilled to remove decay.

Cavities can still happen after a filling has been placed.

You shouldn't assume that a filling will protect a tooth from future cavities. Your tooth is still vulnerable to the effects of decay, and you may need another filling in the same tooth if you continue to practice poor oral hygiene or eat a lot of sugary, starchy, or acidic foods. In some cases, a cavity can form underneath a filling. With continuous brushing and flossing and a healthy eating plan, you can help keep future cavities at bay.

Dental fillings have long been used as a solution to treat dental cavities and keep problems in teeth from worsening. Your dentist will let you know if dental fillings will be the right treatment for your cavities and provide you with additional information on what to expect with fillings.