Everything You Need to Know About Tooth Filling

If you have a cavity or a damaged tooth, you may need a dental filling to restore your smile and prevent further problems. But what exactly is a tooth filling, and what are the different types and materials available? Let’s shed light on dental filling in this article.

What is a tooth filling?

Tooth filling is also known as “Dental filling”. It is a dental procedure that involves removing the decayed or damaged part of a tooth and filling the space with a material that restores the shape, function, and appearance of the natural tooth.

The purpose is to stop the decay from spreading, restore the function and appearance of the tooth, and protect it from further damage.

Does tooth fill hurt?

No, is not painful. Your dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic before starting the procedure.

You may feel some pressure or vibration as your dentist drills out the decayed or damaged part of your tooth, but you should not feel any pain.

After the anesthetic wears off. You may experience some soreness or sensitivity in the treated area for a few days, but this should subside with time and proper care.

What are the dos and don’ts after tooth filling?

After getting a tooth filling, you should follow these tips to ensure a smooth recovery:

Do’s

  1. Avoid eating or drinking anything until the numbness wears off, as you may bite your tongue or cheek without realizing it.
  2. Eat soft foods such as yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, etc.
  3. Brush your teeth gently and floss carefully around the filling area.
  4. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
  5. Take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you have any discomfort or swelling.
  6. Contact your dentist if you notice any signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, pus, fever, or severe pain. You may need antibiotics or additional treatment.

Don’ts

  1. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that may dislodge or damage your filling for at least a week.
  2. Don’t drink hot or cold beverages that may trigger sensitivity in your filled tooth for at least a week.
  3. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after getting a filling, as they may interfere with the healing process and stain your teeth.
  4. Don’t use whitening products or abrasive toothpaste that may affect the color or texture of your filling.
  5. Don’t grind or clench your teeth, as this can put pressure on the filling and cause it to crack or break. If you have bruxism (a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth), you may need to wear a night guard to protect your teeth.

How much does a tooth filling cost?

The cost of a tooth filling depends on several factors, such as:

  1. The quality and quantity of material used by your dentist.
  2. The size and location of the cavity.
  3. The skill and experience of your dentist.
  4. The region and country where you live.
  5. The insurance coverage you have.

According to some estimates, the average cost of a tooth filling in the United States ranges from $50 to $4,500 per tooth without insurance.

The most common types of filling materials are:

  1. Amalgam: This is a silver-colored metal alloy that is durable and inexpensive. It costs about $50 to $150 per tooth.
  2. Composite: This is a tooth-colored resin that is aesthetic and versatile. It costs about $90 to $250 per tooth.
  3. Glass ionomer: This is a glass-based material that releases fluoride and bonds well with enamel. It costs about $100 to $300 per tooth.
  4. Gold: This is a precious metal that is strong and biocompatible. It costs about $250 to $4,500 per tooth.

If you have dental insurance, it may cover part or all of the cost of your tooth filling, depending on your plan and provider. Typically, dental insurance covers 50% to 80% of basic procedures such as fillings.

However, some insurance plans may limit the number or type of fillings they cover per year or lifetime. It is advisable to check with your insurance company before getting it done to avoid any extra fees.

Related: Palate Expander: Types, Uses, Benefits & Risks

How is a tooth filling done?

The procedure usually involves the following steps:

  1. Your dentist will examine your mouth and take X-rays to determine the extent and location of the decay.
  2. Your dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic injection to prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
  3. Your dentist will use a drill or another instrument to remove the decayed or damaged part of your tooth.
  4. Your dentist will clean and disinfect the cavity and prepare it for the filling material.
  5. Your dentist will place the filling material into the cavity and shape it to fit your tooth.
  6. Your dentist will use a special light or heat source to harden or cure the filling material.
  7. Your dentist will trim and polish the filling to make it smooth and comfortable.
  8. Your dentist will check your bite and make any adjustments if needed.

The whole procedure usually takes about an hour or less per tooth, depending on the type and size of the filling.

Tips on how to prepare for your appointment

To make your appointment go smoothly and ensure a successful outcome for your filled tooth, here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Before your appointment, brush and floss your teeth thoroughly and rinse with mouthwash.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 2 hours before your appointment.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early for your appointment and bring your insurance card and identification.
  • If you are nervous or anxious about the procedure, talk to your dentist about sedation options. You may be able to take a mild sedative or use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax during the procedure.
  • Inform your dentist about any medical conditions or allergies that you have and any medications that you are taking.

Relax and breathe deeply during the procedure.

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