Most people will need to get a cavity filled at some point in their life. It’s an unfortunate truth that even the most vigilant orally hygienic individuals can fall victim to bacteria in their mouths. If you’re experiencing this common issue, you’re likely wondering what you can expect when getting a cavity filled. You might even be a little worried. Fortunately, it’s a simple process you don’t have to fret over.
[RELATED: Nervous about the dentist? Here are 5 ways to stay calm at your next visit.]
Why Cavities Need to be Filled
Before going over what to expect when getting a cavity filled, it’s first important to understand why the procedure is so important. After all, with nearly one-third of American adults letting their cavities go untreated, it’s obvious that many don’t recognize just how necessary this is.
Two of the most cited reasons for getting cavities filled are protecting undamaged teeth and restoring proper tooth functioning. Left untreated, the decay from one tooth can spread to others. Even worse is the fact that cavities can cause serious pain which can make it difficult to eat or drink.
Maybe the most important reason to get a cavity filled, though, is to prevent serious infections. An untreated cavity can cause a tooth to become abscessed. The predicating infection can then move to other parts of your body, and scarily enough, it can become life-threatening.
What to Expect During Cavity Filling
Although you may be at the dentist for up to an hour – this includes signing in and possible x-rays – the actual procedure is relatively quick. Your dentist will first dry your mouth out and use a numbing gel before applying an anesthetic to your gums. This ensures you don’t feel any pain when getting your cavity filled.
Once your mouth is numb, bacteria and plaque are removed and then the short process of drilling out the decayed area begins. Afterward, a filling is added to replace the damaged spot. The whole process typically only takes a few minutes.
Does your job involve speaking with the public? If so, you may want to ask for the remainder of the day off. The numbing agent could make speaking difficult.
Be sure to ask your dentist if there are any special instructions to follow before getting a cavity filled.
What to Expect After Cavity Filling
After getting a cavity filled, you can pretty much go back to life as usual. It’s uncommon for patients to have any issues following the first few hours after the procedure. You will want to be careful, however, what you eat when you first leave the dentist office. Avoid especially hot or cold foods since your mouth may be too numb to recognize the temperature.
You’ll also want to avoid eating soups right after the procedure since your numb mouth may cause some dribbling. Otherwise, your new filling should immediately restore proper functioning of your tooth. It isn’t abnormal for sensitivity to last a few days due to nerves, but if you think this is taking too long to stop, there’s no harm in contacting your dentist.
Getting a Cavity Filled is Easy!
Even if you usually can’t stand going to the dentist, it’s important to recognize that getting a cavity filled is a good thing. Your oral health will quickly rebound, and any pain caused by the cavity will be eliminated. Now that you know what to expect, you can walk in confidently and prepared for this simple dental procedure. Afterward, you can get back to having the smile you deserve!