Dental fillings are most commonly used to treat cavities. Cavities form through a buildup of oral bacteria that decays parts of your tooth. Your dentist can remove the decay and restore the tooth using a filling material.
Removing the decay from the tooth stops it from spreading and damaging further teeth, and filling the space restores the strength and integrity of your tooth.
If caught early, you may not have any symptoms of cavities or tooth decay. However, some patients experience the following symptoms:
Regular dental appointments every six months, or more frequently if recommended by your dentist, can prevent cavities from progressing to the point of constant symptoms.
Filling a tooth generally takes 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and location of the decay. If you suffer from multiple cavities, chips, or worn areas, your dentist may choose to fill all of them at once or in several appointments.
First, you receive a topical anesthetic to numb the area, and once that takes effect, your dentist injects a local anesthetic into the tooth or teeth needing work. Next, they remove the decay and clean or rinse the tooth with fluoride to prevent further deterioration.
Last, your dentist deposits the filling material to fill in the damaged portion of the tooth. If using composite resin, then they will aim a UV light at the filling to cure the resin. Your dentist may need to shape the filling as a final step.
At William Lessne, D.D.S. & Bilal Chaudhry D.D.S.s, we use drill-less dentistry. Featuring the KCP Whisperjet 1000®, instead of drilling out the decay, we use air abrasion to remove it. The air abrasion process uses a fine stream of special powder to remove decay and prepare the area for filling.
The KCP Whisperjet 1000 is more precise than drilling, leaving more of the undamaged structure of the tooth, and in some cases, eliminating the need for anesthesia at all.