Cavities are no fun, but most people will get at least one over the course of their lifetime. Thankfully, your dentist can easily treat it, restoring your tooth to as good as new. Here is how a cavity is filled.
Anesthesia Is Administered
Getting a cavity filled isn't particularly painful, but the tooth is often extra sensitive from an exposed nerve and the proximity of other nerves. Most dentists will inject lidocaine or articaine into your gum. This will be the most painful part of the procedure, and the discomfort will last only a brief moment before the numbness sets in. If an infection is present, you may need more than one injection. The numbness is annoying, but it is far better to the alternative of no anesthesia.
Your dentist may also use nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as "laughing gas." A piece of plastic tubing is placed under your nose, and once the gas is turned on, you will feel relaxed. In people with severe dental anxiety, your dentist may prescribe a sedative to be taken shortly before you arrive for your appointment.
Decay Is Removed A cavity is almost always more than just a hole in your tooth. Unless it has just recently cracked from eating something too hard, the cavity will have a decayed area that will need to be removed. It may also be infected, and that debris will need to be removed as well.
Your dentist will use a drill to remove the decayed area. They may also use a miniature air gun to spray it away. Lasers are increasingly being used as well. Once all the decay is removed, the dentist will use a stream of water to wash out the cavity of any remaining debris and bacteria. Your tooth is not ready to be filled.
What Are The Filling Options?
There are several options to choose from for the filling material. Gold fillings are a common but pricey option. Amalgam is a common choice as it is the least expensive option. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury with silver, zinc, and other metals. It is silver in color, so it is best used for back teeth where it won't be seen much.
Another option is porcelain, a glass mixture, or other composite resin material. These are tooth-colored and are ideal for teeth that are more visible in the mouth. They are also more expensive, however. Dental insurance varies in what they will cover, so be sure to have the office check first. Metal fillings will last twice as long as composite fillings.
For more information, contact a dental professional like Kyle J Frisinger DMD today.