No one wants to discover that they have a cavity. Unfortunately, even with the best dental hygiene, you can still develop dental decay. If you have a cavity, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, an astounding 92% of adults ages 20 to 64 have had one or more cavities.
At Hometown Family Dental Centers, you have access to an array of expert dental care services, including dental fillings. Our team of dentists at each of our clinic’s three locations in Fayetteville, Raeford, and Vass, North Carolina gathered to answer some questions about what you can expect when you come in for a dental filling. But first, you need to know a little background on how a cavity forms.
What is a dental cavity?
A dental cavity, also commonly called caries or decay, are areas of damage to your tooth’s surface. If left untreated, a hole can form in the tooth and lead to infection and pain in the soft inner tissue and nerves. Dental cavities are caused by bacteria that consume the starches and sugars left over from the foods you eat. They turn those sugars into an acid, and, over time, the acid wears away your tooth’s hard enamel casing and forms a cavity.
What can you expect from a dental filling?
The procedure to fill a cavity is straightforward and fairly simple. You should plan to be at our office for just about an hour. When you arrive, one of our team members shows you to your private room and helps you get comfortable. A numbing gel is applied to your tooth and gums, and your dentist deadens the area so you won’t feel a thing. Next, he removes the decay, then cleans and sanitizes the area. Finally, he carefully fills the hole and seals the tooth.
What if I’m nervous about the procedure?
If you’re anxious about your dental filling, don’t be. We specialize in sedation dentistry, which means we have many means at our disposal to ensure you’re absolutely comfortable during the procedure. We offer three types of sedation:
- Oral sedatives
- Nitrous oxide
- IV sedation
An oral sedative is a pill that you take before coming to your appointment that takes the edge off your anxiety. Nitrous oxide — also known as “laughing gas” — is administered through a mask over your face. You remain conscious, but your mind wanders instead of fixating on the procedure. IV sedation is the heaviest type of sedation, and it’s administered through a needle in your arm. The effect is what’s known as a “twilight sleep” — your entire body is relaxed, and you’re not aware of your surroundings; however, you can be roused from this state quickly once the procedure is done. All three types of sedation are perfectly safe, even for children.
The effects of the sedation may take a while to wear off, so you should have someone drive you home, and you shouldn’t go to work or school, drive, or operate any kind of machinery until the following day, or until the dentist says it’s okay to return to your normal activities.
What types of fillings are available?
Here at Hometown Family Dental Centers, we use a couple different types of fillings:
- Composite: resin-made material blended to match the color of your natural teeth
- Amalgam: silver fillings that are highly durable, but are more noticeable in your mouth
During your dental consultation, we’ll discuss which type of filling best suits your needs and goals.
After your procedure, your gums and lips will likely remain numb for a couple more hours. It’s nothing to worry about, but avoid hot drinks or heavy chewing until the anaesthetic wears off. As soon as it does, you can eat and drink normally.
If you have a cavity, want to learn more about how to prevent them, or want to know more about your filling options, call one of our three locations to schedule an appointment or send a message to us online.