What You Should Know Before Getting a Dental Filling

You hear it all the time, whether it’s directed to you, a family member, or a friend: “Oh, you need a filling to fix that cavity. Why don’t you set up an appointment to come back so we can take care of that for you?”

Most of the time, you probably just shrug it off as something you just have to do because you ate too much candy or didn’t brush your teeth enough. But what exactly is a filling, and what do you really need to know before you get one?

Since the average American has three dental fillings and 25% of the population has 11 or more, Dr. Vaibhav Bajaj at Charlotte Dental Esthetics in Charlotte, North Carolina, wants you to know what to expect when you head to the dentist’s office for a filling. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

Why you need a filling

The most common reason for needing a dental filling is because tooth decay is creating a cavity in your tooth. This happens if plaque or food particles remain in contact with your tooth for too long due to improper oral hygiene.

Fillings can also be necessary if you have small holes in your teeth, if your tooth is fractured, cracked, chipped, or discolored, or if your tooth structure is gradually wearing away.

What material your filling will be made of

Most dentists offer fillings made of amalgam (silver) or a composite material. Amalgam fillings have been in use for more than 100 years because they’re strong and inexpensive, and they hold up well against chewing. They work well in your larger back teeth.

Composite fillings are made from a mix of plastic resins and can be made to match the color and shade of your teeth exactly. They hold up well against chewing and work well in small- to medium-sized teeth.

What to expect after the filling

In general, you should be able to use your mouth normally once the dentist has given you a filling. You may notice some sensitivity in the first few days after the procedure, and if it lasts longer than a week, call your dentist back so they can see you for a checkup. 

How long it will last

Depending on the type of filling you get, you can expect it to last 7-20 years. You should have your fillings checked every time you visit the dentist for a regular cleaning. You should also watch for any signs of wear, such as discoloration, chipping, darkening, sensitivity, or pain.

How to take care of your filling

You can make sure your filling lasts as long as possible by taking care of it with proper oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice a day, using antibacterial mouthwash once a day, flossing once a day, and scheduling regular cleanings at your dentist’s office twice a year.

If you think you may need a filling, contact Charlotte Dental Esthetics to set up an appointment with Dr. Bajaj and our expert team. Call our office today or request your appointment online. We’ll take care of you and have you back to normal in no time!

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