Unfortunately, tooth decay is a part of life for most of us; and at that point a filling is necessary to prevent further damage.
When You Need a Filling
Many people have lots of anxiety about going to the dentist; however, the fact is in recent advancements in dental technology the process of getting a filling has become nearly painless.
The first thing that needs to be done when you suspect a cavity is to schedule a visit with your dentist. He will most likely examine the tooth, press on it a little bit; and take x-rays. Also if you do need a filling, you should have a conversation with your dentist about what sort of filling is going to be used. There are a lot more option in fillings then there were a decade ago. They vary in appearance, cost, and function, so the best option needs to be discussed. Some different fillings available are gold, amalgam, composite, ceramic, and glass ionomers.
When the time arrives to get your filling the dentist will numb the area with some anesthesia. Dentists attempt to make the procedure as comfortable and painless as possible. Often times they will use a rub to numb the pain from the shot that they use to inject the anesthesia.
Types of Drills
When the area is numb, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth with a specialized instrument. What they will use will depend on the severity, most often it is a drill but more dentists are beginning to use other methods such as air abrasion and lasers.
Air abrasion is a newer technique that uses a handheld device that spays a very small stream of aluminum oxide onto the decayed portion. This is typically used for small cavities and is a painless procedure.
After the cavity is cleaned out, your dentist will clean the area. Additionally, if the cavity is deap they may put a liner over the cavity before applying the filling. This is done to protect the nerve.
Once the filling is installed your dentist will clean and polish your filling. You will feel numb for a couple hours after your dentist visit, but after that you will be back to normal and pain free.