If you have never had a cavity filling in your life or have not had one since you were a young child and you suspect you may have a cavity, then it is important to learn all about dental fillings. Knowing what to expect when your dentist fills your cavity can help keep dental anxiety away. In addition, learning about your filing options can help you make educated decisions in the dental office.
Read on to learn about the types of dental fillings offered today and the typically quick and painless dental filling process.
There are two main types of fillings - direct and indirect fillings. Direct fillings are more common, and the direct filling process is used on small to medium-sized cavities. Indirect fillings, also called inlays and onlays, are better options when filling large cavities that dramatically weaken a tooth. Indirect fillings are sometimes called partial crowns.
The direct filling process is performed completely in your mouth, while indirect fillings are fabricated at a dental lab and then cemented into place in your mouth.
Whether your dentist decides that you are a better candidate for a direct or indirect filling, you have many dental filling materials to choose from. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
The five main types of tooth filling materials include:
If you are overwhelmed by your filling options, then don't worry, because your dentist will help you make your final filling material decision using their expert knowledge and experience.
The direct dental filling process is relatively quick and painless. First, your dentist will numb the area surrounding the tooth with a local anesthetic. Next, they will use a special instrument to remove the tooth decay surrounding the cavity.
Typically, a dental drill is used to remove this tooth decay, although some dentists now use lasers to remove tooth decay. Finally, your dentist will clean out the cavity thoroughly and insert the dental filling material of your choice.
If your dentist decides that an indirect filling is a better option for you, then you may need to visit the dentist twice during the filling process. During the first visit, dental decay is removed from the tooth that will be filled and a dental impression is taken.
The dental impression is then sent to a dental lab where an inlay or onlay is created to fill your large cavity. When you return to the dentist for your second visit, the indirect filling will be cemented onto your tooth.
While no one wants to develop a cavity, cavity fillings are quick and painless. You also have many dental filling options to choose from that help you customize your smile.