Have a Bad Tooth? Here Is the Tooth Filling Process

Ouch! You’re pretty sure you have a cavity, but you’re nervous about taking care of it. Without treatment, a cavity will lead to tooth pain and loss. The process of filling a cavity is designed to make you as comfortable as possible while saving your tooth from being lost to decay. Getting a dental filling may not be what you think.

Summit Dental Partners uses a more modern approach to dental fillings that treats tooth decay and looks great afterward. Knowing the tooth-filling process may make you more comfortable caring for that damaged tooth. If you’re looking for a tooth filling in Summit, NJ, here is how we do it!

What Is a Dental Filling? 

A dental filling is used to treat decay in a tooth, commonly called a cavity. A cavity forms when bacteria penetrate the enamel, the tooth’s protective outer layer. 

Once the bacteria bypass the tooth enamel, the tooth decay risks reaching the living pulp in the center of the tooth and killing the tooth. When this happens, the tooth becomes discolored and can fall out. The bacteria can also continue to cause damage, such as an abscess (infection) or gum disease. 

The best way to prevent tooth loss from tooth decay is to remove the decayed area and fill it with a material that will protect the tooth from further damage. This is a dental filling, and it’s important for your oral health. 

What Are the Types of Dental Fillings?

There are three types of dental fillings: amalgam (silver), glass ionomer, and composite resin. In the past, amalgam was the more popular option. While it worked fairly well, the silver color made the filling very obvious.

The silver material contains mercury. While silver fillings have been declared safe, they are not recommended for those sensitive to mercury, such as children and pregnant women.  

Glass ionomer fillings are made of powdered glass. They are sometimes infused with fluoride to help protect the tooth in the future. 

Summit Dental Partners uses composite material in its dental filling process. Our filling procedure involves matching the composite filling to the color of your tooth to make it look more natural. 

The resin is made of acrylic reinforced by a powdered glass filler. The combination creates a tooth filling that is much more difficult to see and strong enough to preserve the tooth for years. The material is safe and can be used even with small fillings.

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What Is the Tooth-Filling Process?

All three types of dental fillings use the same general tooth-filling procedure. The composite resin procedure is slightly more complicated because it uses a bonding agent and special light to harden the resin. However, the result is worth it because the filling will look like it’s just part of your natural tooth!

How are fillings done at Summit Dental Partners? We begin with a numbing agent to keep you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Most people do just fine with a local anesthetic. Let us know if you think you may need more than that. 

Once the tooth and surrounding area are numb, we clean and dry the tooth completely and isolate it to keep it dry throughout the process. 

Next, we remove any decay from the tooth. We want to be sure we get all of it, but we don’t remove more than necessary. Our goal is to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. 

We then apply an etchant and bonding agent to make the composite resin stick better to the tooth. Then, we apply the composite resin, which we’ve created to match the color of your tooth. 

We then use a special light to harden the first layer of resin and apply the next layer. We continue this process until the cavity is filled. After that, we shape the resin to match your natural tooth and polish the chewing surface so it fits against the rest of your natural teeth when you bite or chew. 

Once we’re finished, your tooth will be as good as new!

How Do I Care for a Tooth After Filling?

Because of the local anesthesia, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the tooth-filling process. Once that wears off, you may have some pain or discomfort. You can relieve this with over-the-counter pain medication. 

After the procedure, you can eat with the filling, but it’s better to wait until your mouth is no longer numb before you eat. You can eat anything, but your tooth may be sore for the first day or two. You may want to stick with softer foods for the first few days. 

Some people report their tooth being sensitive to hot or cold after getting a filling. This is normal and should disappear after a few days. 

There may be a couple of reasons why you would still have pain more than a week after a dental filling procedure. It’s possible the decay made it to the pulp, which would require a root canal. It’s also possible that the tooth isn’t fitting correctly with the other teeth. 

If your tooth continues to hurt, schedule an appointment with us. We will bring you in to ensure your tooth is still healthy, and we can repolish the tooth to make it fit with your other teeth and alleviate your discomfort. Your dental health is our priority.

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Teeth Filling in Summit, NJ

Tooth decay should be treated as soon as possible. The longer it goes untreated, the greater the chances it will severely damage or destroy your tooth. That can lead to the tooth falling out or requiring a tooth extraction. 

Do you need a dental filling in Summit, NJ? Schedule an appointment with Summit Dental Partners. We will happily walk you through the process so you feel as comfortable as possible!