What happens when you get a cavity filled? You’re likely going to ask yourself this question at least a few times throughout the course of your life.
According to the CDC, about 25% of American adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have at least one cavity. This means that you’re probably going to have to go through the process of getting a cavity filled at some point.
The good news is that it’s not hard or particularly painful to get a cavity filled. The answer to the question, “Does getting a cavity filled hurt?”, is usually “No!”
But even with that in mind, you might still be a little bit anxious any time you need to have a cavity filled. So we’re going to try to alleviate at least some of your anxiety by breaking down what happens while you’re having it done.
Here is what will occur when your dentist is filling a cavity for you.
Your Dentist Begins by Identifying a Cavity in One of Your Teeth
Generally speaking, you should try to schedule appointments with your dentist at least once every six months. This will give them a chance to check out your teeth to see if they spot any issues with them.
In a perfect world, they’ll give you the all-clear and tell you that you don’t have any cavities. But if you don’t brush and/or floss your teeth as you should, tooth decay could eventually become an issue for you. And it could lead to you developing a cavity if you’re not careful.
If this ever happens, your dentist will be able to see the cavity in one of your teeth and tell you about it. They’ll also be able to arrange to use restorative dentistry to get a cavity filled for you and answer questions like, “What happens when you get a cavity filled?”
Your Dentist Numbs Your Gums and Gives You a Local Anesthetic With an Injection
If your dentist finds a cavity in one of your teeth, you’ll need to work to get it filled ASAP. If you let a cavity linger for too long, it can put you in a position where you might need to have a root canal done. And in a worst-case scenario, you might even need to have a tooth pulled because you put off a cavity for an extended period of time.
Rather than doing this, you should ask your dentist to fill your cavity. They’ll begin by numbing your gums and then giving you an injection containing a local anesthetic. This will ensure that you don’t feel a thing while getting a cavity filled.
Your Dentist Uses a Drill to Remove the Decaying Portion of Your Tooth
Once your gums and everything surrounding them are all good and numb, your dentist will get down to business. They’ll pull out a drill and work to remove the decaying portion of your tooth.
This is the part of the cavity-filling process that many people fear the most. But you should know that, by the time you get to this point, you won’t be able to feel what’s going on. You’ll hear your dentist using a drill but it won’t feel like they’re doing anything to your tooth.
Your dentist should also only have to use a drill for a short period of time. It won’t be long before they’re able to get rid of the part of your tooth that was decaying.
Your Dentist Chooses a Filling to Put Into the Hole Left Behind in Your Tooth
After your dentist removes the decaying portion of your tooth, they’re going to replace it with a filling. There are a handful of different types of fillings that dentists use, including:
- Amalgam fillings
- Composite fillings
- Glass ionomer fillings
- Gold fillings
If possible, you should ask your dentist which type of filling they’re going to use on your tooth. There are some that will work better than others for certain people.
For instance, if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant sometime soon, you’ll want to stay away from amalgam fillings. Your dentist can help you decide which filling would be your best choice.
Your Dentist Polishes the Filling in Your Tooth and Makes Adjustments to It as Necessary
Within just a few minutes at most, your dentist should have a filling in your tooth. From there, the only thing left for them to do will be to polish the filling and make a few minor adjustments to it.
Your dentist will typically ask you to bite down to see whether or not the filling that they used will impede your ability to do this. If it does, they’ll be able to adjust your filling to make biting down feel more normal.
Your Dentist Provides You With Instructions for Cavity Filling Aftercare
If you’re wondering, “How long does a cavity filling take?”, you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t take long at all. You should be able to get a cavity filled within just 15 to 20 minutes in most cases.
But you should know that a portion of your mouth is going to continue to feel numb for an hour or so after you get a cavity filled. There are also going to be some cavity-filling aftercare tips that you’ll need to remember to avoid doing any damage to your filling.
For starters, you’ll need to watch what you eat and drink after you get a cavity filled. You’ll want to steer clear of anything that is very hot or very cold.
You’ll also want to steer clear of eating anything that is very hard, sticky, or chewy for a couple of weeks. By taking these steps, you’ll avoid any further issues with a cavity that has been filled.
Now That You Know What Happens When You Get a Cavity Filled, It Shouldn’t Be Too Scary
When people ask the question, “What happens when you get a cavity filled?”, it’s often because they’re worried about what’s going to happen while they’re having it done. But as you’ve seen here, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!
As long as you have a great dentist in your corner, you can get a cavity filled fast without any problems. You’ll wonder why you were so worried at the start after seeing how quick and painless getting a cavity filled can be.
Learn more about taking good care of your teeth and having dental procedures done by reading through the rest of our informative blog articles.